Vape News In Brief: March 25th, 2019 Edition
Welcome to Breazy Briefs, where we take a look around the globe, searching for news, science, and the occasional tasty pop culture tidbit related to vaping and the life of vapers. Today, let's talk about…
…the fallout from the surprise resignation of federal Food and Drug Administration czar Scott Gottlieb. The linked piece explores not only Gottlieb's journey from a champion of vaping to one of its most dedicated foes as underage use rose to "epidemic" proportions under his watch, but also how approvals for new drugs skyrocketed during his tenure and tobacco stocks gained following the news of his departure.
More FDA: Details of the new proposal to curb vaping are out now. Not only would FDA changes push flavored products off convenience store shelves and into age-restricted vape shops (expected), the agency wants to speed up the deadline for manufacturers of flavored e-liquid to complete a review process that's so costly it's expected to bankrupt most e-liquid manufacturers. When Gottlieb arrived, he pushed that deadline from 2018 out to 2022; he now wants flavors approved or off the market by 2021. Tobacco and menthol flavors will not be affected by the date change.
Even more FDA: here are the numbers on which major chains are responsible for putting tobacco and vapor products in the hands of children. Walgreens fared the worst among major drug stores, with 22 percent of more than 6000 stores the FDA investigated having been complicit in the sale of tobacco to minors. Worse: gas station/convenience store outlets Marathon, Exxon, Sunoco, BP, Citgo, and Mobil violated age-restriction laws between 35 and 44 percent of the time, when tested. Shell, Chevron, Casey's, and 7-Eleven didn't fare much better, failing to follow the law between 25 and 34 percent of the time.
Not news: vaping is better for you than smoking, but it's not without risks. We know this, and you should, too – if you don't smoke, don't vape. The interesting tidbit here is that cigalike giant Juul, which this article repeatedly reminds readers is now partially owned by Marlboro parent Altria, has recently completed a new round of scientific studies on the health impacts of vaping. We'll let you know as soon as the results begin to leak…
Back to smoking we're sure you've heard this before but, when used as intended, cigarettes will kill roughly half of their consumers. That's why the following op-ed, criticizing moves by the FDA to further enact bans on flavors that adults have repeatedly said are instrumental in their attempts to quit smoking, calls the practice "bizarre."
More interesting news this week out of the conservative think tank Heartland Institute: members of the military are now less likely to smoke, but more likely to vape than the general population. That's particularly interesting given that tobacco products are likely to be cheaper on military bases than in civilian-friendly stores, and that servicemembers have historically consumed more tobacco than their civilian counterparts. The Institute argues this is further proof vaping amongst adults is an effective smoking cessation aid, even though it's not recognized as such by the US government that oversees the troops in question.
More FDA: the impending departure of chief Gottlieb could be a boon for tobacco companies, Business Insider is predicting. Questions are swirling as to whether Gottlieb's "personal" crusade against tobacco and underaged vapor product use will be picked up by his successor, particularly in a role more suited to analyzing new pharmaceuticals than changing the face of the American tobacco industry. Experts are pointing to his departure as a reason tobacco stocks are experiencing an uptick.
Here's even more on what the Gottlieb resignation could mean for the future of both vaping and the tobacco industries: more time. With his departure, experts are now predicting that a Republican White House will be hesitant to install a replacement who exhibits the same vigor when it comes to cracking down on vapor products and the cigarette industry, meaning proposals like a complete ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes could end up shelved indefinitely.
(Maybe) Bad news: a forthcoming study, the results of which are scheduled to be released later this month, may identify previously undiscovered risks adherent to vaping, specifically related to the body's cardiovascular system. We'll dive into this more once the study goes public, but since advance hints as to its' findings are being made public we felt it was pertinent to share that there may be some news forthcoming.
Is the Vuse, generally considered an also-ran in the cigalike market dominated by Juul, a fraud? That's what an Ohio manufacturer claims, stating in a recently-filed lawsuit that RJ Reynolds, the Big Tobacco giant behind Camel and other brands, used confidential information shared by e-cig developer Fuma to design its proprietary Vuse device. While it's not news yet, this could become a bigger issue as tobacco brands push to compete in the vapor space with market leader Altria and its significant investment in the Juul platform.
A new study is raking Juul over the coals once again for old advertisements. Ohio State University has found that teenage boys are/were likely to respond positively to old Juul ads that contained fake health advisories such as "Warning: Contains Flavor" while failing to recall more serious advisories about the unknown health effects of long-term vaping buried in the ads' fine print. We'll note here that, while certainly not a good look, the ads in question were retired more than a year ago as Juul has sought respectability following their acquisition of a dominant position in convenience stores nationwide.
Pushing back on the notion that the resignation of FDA chief Scott Gottlieb, who flip-flopped from a generally positive view of vaping to a much harsher stance in the wake of new numbers on teenagers' affliction for Juul products, we present this editorial, which posits that a new incoming FDA czar could be just as harsh, if not more so, when it comes to regulating vaping. Remember that, absent a reprieve early in Gottlieb's tenure, nearly every vapor product available in the US today would have become illegal nearly a year ago…
A new budget proposal from President Trump's White House would add $100 million in fees to be collected from the e-cigarette industry. It's reported that these additional taxes would go toward oversight costs and regulation of the industry.
Kentucky may soon move to ban smoking and vaping at its public schools statewide. Once again, we're shocked. It's 2019. How is this not already a thing?
Bad (at being) criminals: we'll leave you on a light note, watching these bumbling would-be burglars trash a vape shop in Canada without really taking much of value. Not only is the video humorously narrated by the victim of the crime, it gets a full write-up delivering the play-by-play. This one's worth a five-minute watch.
Thanks for checking back in for another week of newsiness. We'll keep watching the headlines, and as vape news breaks we'll be here next week to fix it.