Updated Sep 18, 2019

The global anti-vaping tipping point

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The global market for vaping is suddenly under extreme scrutiny, with major backlash in the U.S. — paired with a ban in India and Juul yanked from online marketplaces in China.

Why it matters: Companies like Juul and others — which now market their vaping products around stopping smoking — suddenly face a nasty political climate based on fears of kids getting addicted.

Driving the news:

  • Chinese online marketplaces Alibaba and JD.com have pulled Juul from their offerings, just a week after they debuted.
  • India has banned e-cigarettes altogether, despite having more than 100 million smokers in the country.

The big picture: The global vaping market suddenly looks much smaller than it did a few days ago, even threatening the mega-merger of tobacco companies like Altria and Philip Morris.

And in the United States:

  • Numerous states are pushing major anti-vaping efforts, testing everything from banning flavored cartridges to PSA messages aimed at teens that feel like rehashes of the anti-cigarette movement.
  • That now extends to local government: D.C. suburb Montgomery County is considering a rule that'd ban vape shops from within a 1/2 mile of public middle and high schools — effectively closing 19 of the county's 22 stores, the WashPost notes.
  • Legal vaping manufacturers (particularly in the marijuana variety) are rushing to make sure their product doesn't get mistaken for the bootlegged cartridges that officials believe are causing some of the vaping-related lung illnesses.

Between the lines: Hundreds of people nationwide have suffered vaping-related lung illnesses, with 7 deaths.

  • But it's still a mystery what exactly is causing the illnesses.
  • The FDA has pointed to vitamin E acetate in THC vaping cartridges, but "no candidate substances have consistently turned up across samples so far," Scientific American warns.
  • Although most "cases involve pods containing THC ... not all of them do. ... In a good chunk of cases, patients say the one they vaped contained only nicotine. Although it is possible patients do not want to admit to THC use in states where it is not decriminalized, there is no evidence they are lying."

Go deeper: Nicotine addictions increasingly driving vape users back to cigarettes

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the news from China and India.

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews were in force in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — where police used pepper spray and flash bangs on a group throwing projectiles at them during an "unlawful assembly," per KATU. Portland police said this group was separate to the thousands of demonstrators who protested peacefully elsewhere in the city.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.