A disappointing survey by the National Institute of Drug Abuse finds that about twice as many high schoolers are vaping this year as compared to 2017. So that’s 1 in 5 students. We’re gonna pick on JUUL in particular for driving this, considering they dominate the market. They’ve said before that they focus their marketing efforts on adult smokers, but weird “anti-vaping” curriculums and a massive $12.8B investment from tobacco giant Altria has us really doubting their sincerity. But hey, at the very least teens seem to be satisfied with an occasional flash drive puff: the rate of teens using illicit drugs like cocaine and ecstasy is at a historic low. That’s not counting marijuana use though, which hovers at 5-6.5% of students year to year.
As you know, the FDA is not too happy with JUUL for improper marketing practices aimed at America’s youth. Essentially, the agency alleges that by making vaping “cool,” they’re trying to get the next generation addicted to nicotine. Well the marketing geniuses at JUUL must have mistaken their foot for their vapes, because one of their “solutions” involved offering schools up to $20,000 to use an anti-vaping curriculum they developed. Hey y’all? That’s not a good look. After all, the tobacco industry tried to do the same in the eighties, and those education programs may have caused more students to smoke. JUUL’s version of the course would’ve included the science behind e-cigs, blaming teen use on peer pressure and, uh, mindfulness through telekinesis?? Yeah, why vape when you can move clouds with your mind (audio required)?
The FDA is getting serious about e-cigarette enforcement. In a statement released last week, the agency announced a crackdown on 1,300+ retailers and five manufacturers who make up 97% of the US market. That includes JUUL, which has been widely criticized for making vaping cool (Editor note: LOL is this really that cool?) and itself accounts for over half the US market. The FDA says vape use has increased to epidemic levels in teens, and it is intent to not “allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine.” The agency expects the manufacturers to submit plans within 60 days to explain how they’ll stop teens from getting addicted to their products. If not, the agency could pull e-cigs from the market, a move which Big Tobacco is a fan of.
480,000 Americans die from smoking each year according to FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Well it’s time to take another big swing at preventing those deaths, at least that’s what’s behind the FDA’s new move to cut nicotine levels down in cigarettes. In the US, cigarettes are typically made with a nicotine dose of around 1.1-1.7 milligrams. The regulatory agency wants to cut that to a maximum of 0.4 milligrams, which could help 5 million Americans quit smoking within a year. The move is focused on combustible cigarettes which probably give you the most bang for your buck in terms of ways they can kill you, as opposed to newer vaping products which have pretty high nicotine levels themselves. Presumably, the FDA doesn’t want to impinge on the very cool emerging field of vape tricks.
Possibly some bad news for members of the Vape Nation; a recent study has identified that e-cigarettes containing nicotine can temporarily cause increased arterial stiffness, as well as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. NB: “containing nicotine” is pretty important there, as that’s likely what’s causing those adverse effects. So competitive vapers may not have to worry about this particular research. While the study was pretty small—15 young adults—it still provides some insight into using vapes as a way to quit smoking. The insight is groundbreaking: the healthiest way to not be affected by smoking chemicals is to ingest them at all. Wait, haven’t we heard this argument before…