Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that Juul, a vaping company that has the largest market share of e-cigarettes, “should be pulled off the market entirely.”
The Trump administration has stalled talks to ban flavored tobacco products as millions of teens within the past few years have become addicted to nicotine.
Though a nationwide flavor ban has been in the works, Gottlieb said the root of the problem isn’t the flavors, but the convenience of cheap nicotine cartridges.
- More often, he said, adults use open tank systems — bulkier, more expensive and more difficult to conceal e-cigarette products.
- “Whatever benefits they had have been greatly overshadowed by the nicotine addiction 2018,” Gottlieb said. “We were worried, and I still am.”
There are 2,506 confirmed hospital cases of lung injury associated with vaping in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and two U.S. territories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Dec. 17.
Some progress has been made in uncovering a correlation between vaping and respiratory illnesses. Federal health officials have found vitamin E acetate in the lung fluid of 29 patients diagnosed with the vaping-related illness.
- Many of the illnesses and deaths have also been linked to black market sales and vape cartridges containing THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.
Additional lab tests for 1,782 hospitalized patients have taken place relating to a variety of vape products used. Based on the most recent data as of Dec. 3, the majority of people with the pulmonary illness (EVALI) are young males:
- 78% are under the age of 35, and 67% are males.
- About 80% reported using products containing THC, 35% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products and 54% reported use of products with nicotine.
- Dank Vapes, “a class of largely counterfeit THC-containing products of unknown origin, was the most commonly reported product brand used by patients nationwide,” per the CDC, used by 56% of hospitalized.
New data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey show that 6.2 million middle school and high school students use tobacco, the highest level since 2000.
Tobacco use among middle schoolers and high schoolers remains high thanks to the popularity of e-cigarettes. Health advocates and some states are blaming misleading advertising, media and inconspicuous vape devices like Juul for enticing kids to try e-cigarettes.
This year, NYTS asked teens why they smoked e-cigarettes. More than half cited their curiosity and almost one-fourth said they tried them because of the flavors.
- E-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among high school and middle school students for the sixth year in a row.
- About seven in 10 middle and high school students currently using tobacco used flavored tobacco products.
Vaping has been marketed as a safer option than smoking traditional cigarettes. Many young people have picked up vaping without ever even having touched a cigarette. The sad truth is that vaping is not safe. In fact, vaping can cause severe lung damage.
Regular cigarette smoke contains a cancer-causing mix of 7,000 chemicals. While e-cigarette aerosol has fewer toxic chemicals, it is still filled with dangerous chemicals, including:
- Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- Various flavorings like fruit, candy, and other kid-friendly flavors, such as mango, fruit and crème which contain diacetyl, a chemical that has been linked to a serious lung disease
- Cancer-causing chemicals
- Volatile organic compounds
- Heavy metals including nickel, tin, and lead
- Nicotine – an addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to Juul for illegally marketing its e-cigarettes as less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, and must find a way to correct that violation. The FDA issued the following statement regarding JUUL e-cigarettes: “Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful. JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth.”
JUUL pods, also known as e-liquid cartridges, come in a variety of flavors like cool mint, crème brulee and fruit medley, and each pod contains about as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes. JUUL pods also contain a mix of glycerol and propylene glycol, nicotine, benzoic acid, and flavorings.