Vape News In Brief: January 28th, 2018 Edition
Vape News In Brief: January 28th, 2018 Edition
…the big Juul advertising buys we reported last week on the heels of a massive cash infusion from Marlboro parent Altria. If you're wondering how it is the company is able to take out full-page newspaper ads and even television spots despite such promotions being banned for combustible cigarette companies, here's a good explainer.
New statistics from Greece indicate that 40 percent of ex-smokers who've successfully quit since 2014 used vapor devices to do so. Lead researcher Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, longtime tobacco researcher and vaping advocate, noted that e-cig users are "up to 11 times more likely to stop smoking" than their peers that try to quit without the assistance of vaping.
The Tobacco 21 initiative, stalled for a couple of decades, is gaining momentum. Six states including California and Hawaii have already raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco or vapor products to 21, and last week we reported New York is next in line to do so. This week, add Nebraska and Virginia to the list of states looking for tighter age controls. Iowa is also kicking around the idea. Curiously, Nebraska wants to keep the legal smoking age at 18. This sets up an interesting experiment: would the state be providing a perverse incentive for would-be young nicotine consumers to choose cigarettes over vaping, or discouraging minors from using nicotine at all, given vaping seems to be the more attractive option? Hard to say, but as a matter of policy, it definitely treats the less harmful option more stringently.
File to: tooting our own horn. Here at Breazy, we're proud to announce the acquisition of review clearinghouse JuiceDB. As an online marketplace, our goal is to make our site a place where not only can you find everything you need, but a place that helps you quickly and effortlessly make the best decision for you. So we're excited to help curate one of the web's most respected vape review sources that will ultimately allow consumers to make the best possible choices.
Today in fashion news: designers are tailoring clothing, purses, and other accessories around their ability to store a Juul. "There's this whole sort of individuality, DIY aspect to Juuling because they're so innocuous," says fashion consultant Brian Trunzo, which is confusing because there’s nothing DIY about Juul. He goes on to note that "You really do need to either mark your Juul or provide an accessory so you don't lose it or have it stolen from you at a party or bar," an astute observation that the cigalike captures precisely zero percent of the vape do-it-yourself culture's penchant for uniqueness.
US FDA chief Scott Gottlieb is on the warpath again, late last week making his most direct threat against vaping. Gottlieb says that unless self-reported teen vaping is reduced significantly by the time new survey numbers are available at the end of the year, he's ready to take action to ban all non FDA-approved vapor products (read: all of them) from being bought or sold in the United States. If you were thinking about stocking up, now may be the time…
The widely-heralded anti-smoking campaign Truth Initiative has announced a new program that allows teens and their parents to opt into a daily text message blast containing anti-vaping sentiments and quitting tips. It's one of a handful of initiatives being proposed as the major players in the vapor industry as well as their opponents step up efforts to reduce underage vaping.
Read this New York Times piece for a skeptical look at how seriously Juul might be taking its self-proclaimed mission of converting cigarette smokers to vapers. There are some particularly damning quotes from one of the brand's co-founders and a key engineer that suggest smoking cessation was far from the first priority in developing the ultra-high-nicotine cigalike, and that the company was at one point perfectly fine with encouraging non-smokers to use its product.
Here's a cool photo essay that gives you a behind the scenes look at an e-liquid factory in New Zealand.
Next up, another look at why FDA honcho Gottlieb is irate at both Juul and Marlboro parent Altria–he feels the new partnership between the two companies violates promises made both by Juul (to reduce marketing efforts where kids could see them) and Altria (to stop selling pod-based products). The only problem with the FDA's outrage over vapor products, the linked article notes, "is that they are doing exactly what manufacturers and proponents have said they would–reducing cigarette smoking." Despite an uptick in the popularity of vaping, underage cigarette consumption rates in 2017 were the lowest on record, a fact that somehow keeps getting lost in the whole youth vaping epidemic dustup.
Circling back to new legislation for a minute, Kentucky wants to ban tobacco products from public schools. How is this not already a thing? Wait, Kentucky is the second-largest tobacco growing state? You don’t say. And what else? Kentucky has the highest cancer rates in the nation? Weird.
Celebrity Seconds: Rumer Willis, daughter of actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore with several film credits of her own including Whore, in which she portrays a character described as "smoking girl," was photographed by paparazzi last week while vaping in front of a concrete wall in West Hollywood (which is like Hollywood, except very much not).
The Pakistan Medical Association is pushing for a nationwide ban on vaping. We've seen this before (and may be facing similar actions here at home soon), but the logic is particularly strained. Here, unedited, is the story's lede: "'There should be a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes. More young people are using e-cigarettes now,' said PMA Secretary-General Dr Qaiser Sajjad. 'We don’t have any data on it,' he remarked. 'We don’t even know about any diseases caused by it.'" Government officials say they're ready to consider the ban as soon as the PMA submits a formal request. Maybe since they have so little information on vaping, they might want to take a look at the UK government’s stance, which is to make it widely available as a harm reduction method in order to help people switch from the proven killer of tobacco.
This financial analysis of the FDA's threat to ban vaping puts Altria in an interesting position: had Gottlieb made his announcement a couple of months ago, eliminating vaping in its entirety would have been unprecedented good news for the cigarette maker. Now, with $12.8 billion invested in Juul, the news makes for a much murkier road ahead. While the company's cigarette division would certainly thrive absent competition from vaping, they'd still be forced to write off billions of dollars in losses if the investment goes belly up. Plus, as the author here mentions, Juul specifically has been FDA Enemy Number One for the last several months–any new regulatory action is likely to target Juul first.
More FDA because we know you haven’t had enough yet: during a panel last week where the aforementioned Truth Initiative text service came up, more discussion was had about the need to approve pharmaceutical nicotine replacement therapies for kids in order to help them stop vaping. To the conspiratorially-minded vaper, Big Pharma is only slightly less sinister than Big Tobacco. So we question whether medicating a generation of young people should really be the first line of defense against the problem of youth vaping.
More (yes, even more) Juul: while the company just started its federal influence-buying campaign in the second quarter of 2018, by the end of the year lobbyist spending had more than tripled, rising from $210,000 from April through June to a reported $750,000 from October through December, just shy of Big Tobacco stalwart Reynolds American at $790,000. While a pile of Marlboro money (and savvy advice) likely helped, we'll note that it's also the first time Juul has spent some of its congresscritter cash supporting legislation that would raise the minimum age to consume tobacco or vapor products to 21 nationwide. As noted above, the Tobacco 21 movement is already picking up steam in individual cities and states across the US.
Let's cap things off with that for now. More news is coming, though – different vape time, same Breazy channel…