The vaping industry has taken a beating over the past few years. There is no denying that. It’s been a struggle for many business owners to handle flavor registrations, ingredient listings and let’s not forget some state’s wholesale taxes just to name a few. Today, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, released a rare national advisory about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
He posted this statement today on the U.S. Surgeon General twitter account ‘Today, I am officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States.” He goes on to pledge to use his bullypulpit to protect our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction & associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. In an article by Business Insider they continue the hysteria by saying, “Because of their runaway popularity, e-cigs could create a new generation of Americans hooked on nicotine, one of the worlds most addictive substances and the key ingredient in e-cigs like the Juul, these experts warn. Their concern comes in part from a host of studies suggesting that teens who vape are significantly more likely to go on to smoke regular cigarettes than teens who never vape.” It’s also important to acknowledge that nicotine salts (which is found in the Juul pods) help make this specific product more addictive. Nicotine salts have a higher nicotine ratio than that of their regular eliquid counterparts. One Juul pod contains roughly 23mg to 40mg of nicotine per pod (depending on the strength purchased). To put that into perspective, many manufacturers don’t make eliquids that go above 24mg, and many everyday users don’t use this high of an eliquid.
To recap, the majority of the industry (like our members for example) has been working diligently to combat youth access for as long as they have been open. Many shops do not allow anyone to enter who is under-the-age and card anyone who may look suspicious. They take their jobs and their responsibilities seriously. These companies work hard to keep their doors open even amongst the other issues our industry has to face. The main point is that we agree that this is important to keep in mind, but we also don’t feel as if this is an ‘epidemic’ type of problem. This seems to be more brand-related than ‘vaping’ related. It’s not fair that we get wrapped up into these assumptions that were created solely by these companies not making the right decisions. Throughout the FDA’s continued statements and the U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory statement, the brand Juul and blu were mentioned directly. According to the article by the Business Insider, they mention that Juul alone has captured nearly 80% of the market share in the United States. That leaves roughly 20% of shops as we mentioned earlier being roping into the problems of what these big corporations have caused. The FDA has acknowledged that a majority of the sales to minors happens at convenience stores and gas stations so they are at least starting to work in the right direction. But sadly, it’s still going to take some time before we can separate ourselves from these companies in the eyes of the general public.
Companies like Juul and others have been working to create better measures to prevent youth access. Juul Labs, who is the manufacturer of the Juul pod system, has temporarily halted sales of their flavored pods in 90,000 retail stores. They are even going as far as shutting down their social media accounts according to CBS News. This is part of Juul’s plan to continue working on strengthening their age restriction policies. This was in response to the FDA’s statement on September 12, 2018, requesting that ‘5 of the biggest e-cigarette manufacturers to put forward a plan to immediately and substantially reverse these trends [of youth vaping] or face a potential decision by the FDA to reconsider extending the compliance dates for submission of premarket applications.’ Who knows how this will work out for these companies. Will the limitation of flavors really stop kids from getting their hands on products like the Juul?
In a video released on November 17th, 2918 by regulatorwatch.com, Dr. Michael Siegel M.D. had this to say about the FDA’s terminology of ‘epidemic’ in regards to teen vaping. “I don’t think that health authorities describing this degree of a threat for a product[vaporizers] that when compared to another product[cigarettes] that’s on the market poses a much much great threat. Often there is hysteria about various health risks. But this is a really strange one because of the contrast between the harms that tobacco cigarettes are causing and the harms that e-cigarettes are causing. And just to be very clear on the science, we know that cigarettes are causing more than 400,000 deaths each year. To the best of our knowledge, there are no deaths that ever been associated with vaping.” He even goes on the mention how many health groups have misled the public about the dangers of vaping. For instance, many people are afraid of getting ‘popcorn lung’ but not one case has been reported. He goes on to discuss that there are many statements that health groups like thetruth.com etc. use to mislead the public about vaping. It’s grossly inappropriate that these groups can do this. Not only does this cast a shadow on new innovative technology for adult smokers, but it also deters many from ever giving vaping a try.
Overall, with the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning being released today, and the fact that there is no clear distinction between companies like Juul and vape shops, this can potentially deter more adult smokers from ever giving vaping a try. This gives vaping a bad reputation that is just going to be hard to shake. We must continue to educate, inform and fight for our rights as vapers and continue to move through this together.