Sep 16, 2019

Nicotine addictions increasingly driving vape users back to cigarettes

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A new Los Angeles Times report details a painfully ironic contradiction: Vape users turning to cigarettes to cope with their nicotine addictions, challenging vapes' original purpose of helping cigarette users quit smoking altogether.

The big picture: As cigarette use has declined, e-cigarettes and vaping are seeing a sharp increase in popularity — but not without pushback. Just last week, Juul, a vaping technology, faced backlash from lawmakers for being advertised as less harmful than cigarettes without approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

  • A recent surge in vaping-related illness caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release a statement warning against the broad use of vapes.
  • Juul is also being targeted for allegedly marketing to youth. States attorneys are seeking to prevent increased youth use through a series of lawsuits and investigations, while the Trump administration last week announced plans to pull all flavored e-cigarette cartridges from the market.

What they're saying: In a statement to the LA Times, Juul said its product is designed to "help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes to an alternative nicotine delivery system.”

  • But some Juul users are backsliding. Dr. Amanda Graham of Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco group, says she's witnessed users succumbing to "desperation and misguided approaches" to stump their nicotine addictions.
  • “Young people are fumbling in the dark with what seems logical,” Graham told the Times. "But there is no safe level of cigarette smoking."
  • A Juul user who quit the device following significant breathing problems told the Times: "I think a lot of people are quitting completely or going back to cigarettes ... maybe [vaping] isn’t as safe as we once thought."

Go deeper: New arrests shed light on vaping's black market

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Court temporarily stalls New York ban on flavored e-cigarettes

A man smokes an e-cigarette in New York in 2017.  Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

A state appellate court blocked New York's ban on all flavored electronic cigarettes the first week of October, preventing New York from becoming the second state to put such a ban in place, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The Food and Drug Administration announced last month that it was finalizing plans to pull all flavored e-cigarette cartridges from the market. Massachusetts currently has the harshest vaping ban in U.S.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 4, 2019

California targets vaping as health fears rise

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) announced Monday that California will spend $20 million on an awareness campaign warning the public about vaping's dangers, AP reports.

The big picture: Vaping technologies for nicotine and cannabis have seen a sharp increase in popularity, but officials are concerned about the products' adverse effects. A recent surge in vaping-related illnesses caused the Center for Disease Control to release a statement last month broadly warning against the practice, specifically when using knockoff products.

Go deeperArrowSep 17, 2019

Regulatory gaps are exacerbating the youth vaping crisis

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The delay in implementing comprehensive regulations for e-cigarettes has contributed to a growing crisis of vaping-related illnesses and deaths across the U.S. and poses particular risks to young adults.

The big picture: E-cigarette use by American teenagers has surged, and the dangers are heightened by unsafe black market vaping devices and THC cartridges. But a recent flurry of regulatory activity by states looks set to continue, with federal action following shortly.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019