By Janine Wolf Bloomberg
Traditional cigarette smoking in America has fallen to historic lows, and it looks like electronic cigarettes could help. As "vaping" gains popularity, studies have shown that the habit of encouraging adult smokers to abandon the older, more vicious version.
But there is a big problem: "Teenagers – and they make the whole e-cigarette phenomenon a regulative nightmare."
While traditional smoking among young people is also down, new evidence suggests that E-cigs serve as a gateway for teens who do not already smoke cigarettes Researchers at Dartmouth College showed that some cigarette smoking adults in the US were able to stop using the devices, but it also showed that 81
"Children may think they are vaporizing pure flavored e-cigarettes, but the actual nicotine content of e-juice can be considerably higher than what's written on the packaging, even an e-juice claiming to be nicotine-free it actually contains nicotine, "said Soneji. The cost of a rechargeable device is between $ 25 and $ 145, and a nicotine capsule that can cost between $ 200 and $ 400 costs $ 43 a month. The average cost of a regular cigarette pack in the US is $ 7.62
"A cigarette can be a cheap and fast alternative for a teenager who has recently become addicted to nicotine through the use of e-cigarettes." , he said.
But there is another link between smoking e-cigarettes and smoking real people among young people, Soneji added, the more they smoke, the more their perception of traditional cigarettes changes. Teenagers begin to think that smoking is "less harmful and less dangerous", making it easier to adopt the habit.
The great variety of flavors was cited as the main reason that teenagers use e-cigs.
With the rapid growth of young people between the ages of 12 and 25 (although it is illegal to sell E-Cigs to minors), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been pressured to crack down , On 27 March, the Tobacco Free Kids Campaign sued the agency for postponing its review of the product for four years in July 2017, pointing out the need to assess how e-cig flavors attract young adopters. "The FDA does not get the information it needs to know," said Matthew Myers, the campaign's president.
The FDA should investigate the use of flavors and determine if some of them help people quit "Or if instead they cause people to start smoking cigarettes, some members of the congress argued." If companies want to use flavors "They should be required to demonstrate to the FDA that the use of flavoring agents benefits public health," said 11 Democratic US Senators, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Tim Kaine Virginia wrote in a letter on April 18.
Taste is at the heart of the debate, with choices ranging from predictable and classic tobacco and menthol to bizarre, including "Galactic Milk" and "Not-Cho Cheese Fauxritos." The wide variety of flavors and the occasional winking branding were cited as a theme The first study, which looked at the consumption of flavored e-cigarettes in different age groups, found that a large majority of young adults across the country favors flavors such as fruit or sweets over the traditional flavor of tobacco. While the data suggest that limiting the variety of tastes might help reduce initial users, it also appears that adult consumers also prefer non-tobacco flavors.
For regulators, this is all a mystery. First, the FDA set out its device review plan, stating that it would expand the timeline for "clear and meaningful action to reduce toxicity, pull and addiction without jeopardizing" innovations that could help both age groups. But on March 20 there was a call for information on the role that flavors play in tobacco products, a potential prelude to restrictions on the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products.
"No child should use any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes," said FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb last month. "At the same time, we are aware that certain flavors can contribute to dependent adult smokers switching to potentially less harmful forms of nicotine-containing tobacco products."
Industry has pushed back the concept of flavor restriction, stressing the role they play in helping adults quit smoking regularly. For the time being, with regulation of e-cigarettes that are still at an early stage, manufacturers have a free hand to advertise as they see fit. In 2014, $ 88.1 million was spent on marketing, up 52 percent from 2013, largely due to the $ 35 million Altria Group Inc. MarkTen campaign. While e-cigarette manufacturers are prohibited from selling the equipment to minors and warning labels about nicotine addiction, there are no restrictions (as is the case with traditional cigarettes) on advertising that allows spots on television, radio, billboards and elsewhere
] This explains why, for example, a colorful 12-piece billboard that spanned Times Square in 2015 brought steam to young adults, or why a pop-up bar was introduced for the launch of the Juul e-cigarette brand. which has developed a cult following among some teenagers. Juul Labs Inc. was recently reviewed by the FDA; The agency requested on April 24 that the company file documentation regarding product marketing and research related to youth attractiveness.
Juul is the fastest-growing e-cigarette brand in the US, with sales of more than 600 percent last year, according to Wells Fargo. In March, Nielsen reported an increase in sales of e-cigarettes by 114.5 percent, led by Juul, which had 54.6 percent of the US e-cigarette market, compared to 46.8 percent by the end of 2017. Competitor British American Tobacco Co., Holders of Vuse and Vype brands held 19.3 percent, Altria Group Inc. with MarkTen and APEX 9.7 percent. Meanwhile, tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc. has trouble keeping up.
Christine Castro, a Juul spokeswoman, said the company is doing "very little marketing." While Juul has official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, Castro said it has no control over sellers or individuals who could promote its products.
"I know that we often appear on social media, which is completely separate from us," she said.
The US Department of Health and Social Affairs warned in the first federal agency report that focused on e-cigarettes in 2016 that "the plethora of unregulated advertising is particularly misgiving, as advertising for tobacco products in teens is related to smoking." Cigarettes in a dose-response relationship. "In other words, adolescents who saw more tobacco advertising smoked cigarettes.
"We do not understand, however, why these products are so popular with adolescents," said Gottlieb, the FDA representative. "But it's important that we find out" and quickly. "
Juul is best known for its inconspicuous flash-drive e-cigarettes designed to help smokers transition from traditional cigarettes." We can not be more emphatic on this point: No adolescent or non-nicotine Users should ever try Juul, "said Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burns in a statement announcing plans to combat minors, yet experts warn that it's the design that's part of what attracts young people to its use
Allison, a 21-year-old college student who just wanted to use her first name, said a male friend had used a Juul device because it looked "cool." After about four to five In months he could not afford new cartridges.
"He had no money left for pods and now he's leaving for nicotine withdrawal," she wrote in a post on Twitter said the story was an ordinary one given the recent spread of vaping to universities. "He's in a brotherhood, and there's a huge culture to smoke juuls," she said in a private message, adding that the device has a "characteristic look that is hard to miss"