The recent actions and announcements by the FDA regarding the measures it is taking or plans to take in order to stem the tide of teen vaping has many public health experts worried that the agency is overreacting to the events surrounding electronic cigarettes. Consequently, the Attorney General for Iowa, the chair of the Advisory Board of the Center for Health Law and other experts have written a letter to the FDA cautioning it to think carefully about any step that they plan to take or risk causing worse public health problems down the road. For example, they suggest that the agency should distinguish between teens who vape regularly/daily from those who do it once in a while, and then design measures to address regular use rather lumping occasional use with daily use. Similarly, the experts ask the FDA to establish whether daily vapers among adolescents aren’t smokers as well who need e-cigarettes in order to reduce or switch from combustible cigarettes. This letter is a good reminder that one shouldn’t use a sledge hammer to swat a fly. Will the FDA listen to the voice of reason?
The protracted negotiations between “Big Tobacco” company Altria and Juul Labs finally came to an end with both companies announcing that Altria had injected $12.8 billion in Juul Labs in exchange for a 35 percent stake in the electronic cigarette maker. Insiders privy to the details of the deal say that Altria is contractually bound not to sell its stake or acquire more shares for at least six years from the date when the deal was signed. The partnership with Altria marks a huge turnaround for Juul since it had positioned itself as being opposed to Big Tobacco. However, Juul’s recent issues with regulators and legislators may have convinced it to sign the deal so that Altria can deploy its lobbying and financial muscle to help deal with the authorities breathing down Juul’s neck. Altria also brings superior distribution and retail systems to the deal, while the tobacco giant will get a slice of the massive sales made by Juul (75 percent of the entire e-cig market in the US). One can only hope that this “marriage” won’t result in the total takeover of the vaping industry by Big Tobacco and its ills.
Scott Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner tweeted days ago that he will meet the top executives of electronic cigarette companies. The FDA chief also hinted that his discussions with the companies was prompted by actions that seem to show that those companies are backtracking on the promises that they made to the public and to the agency. The Director feels that companies have an obligation to stem the teen vaping “epidemic” even before the regulator issues specific directives on what the companies should do in this regard. The meeting may therefore be geared towards pushing the companies to implement what they promised to do. This would be akin to self-regulation during this time when the FDA hasn’t put in place a detailed regulatory framework for the electronic cigarette industry. Industry watchers can only hope that the meeting produces positive results that protect public health without stifling the vaping industry unnecessarily.
In the wake of FDA statistics that put the number of teens who are vaping at about 3.6 million, the South Central Public Health District in Twin Falls, Idaho, plans to conduct classes to educate teens about vaping and the dangers that those teens face if they take up the habit. The classes will be conducted at two different venues, and they are free for anyone (18-years or older) to attend. The school district took this unprecedented step to fill the knowledge gap in order to reduce the number of teens who vape thinking that it is harmless pastime.
Young people risk becoming addicted to nicotine in addition to exposing themselves to developmental challenges since their brains are still growing. The first classes were held a few days before Christmas at the two venues. The school district also revealed that they want to educate parents as well, but it wasn’t clear whether the classes organized for the teens would also be open to parents. One would hope not, since the presence of parents may prevent some of the teens from opening up about their concerns while those adults are around. All in all, this effort is to be commended if it can attain the objective of helping the teenagers to make informed choices regarding electronic cigarettes.
The legalization of cannabis in some US states and not in others has created a thriving market for counterfeiters who flood the black market with products that are packaged in a way that resembles the name-brand products found in states where cannabis is legal. The major brands affected include Heavy Hitters, King Pen and Brass Knuckles (among others). The black market products don’t conform to any quality standards, so consumers face the risk of consuming cannabis oil that is tainted with all sorts of contaminants, such as pesticide residues and heavy metals. What can one do? Only buy your cannabis vape cartridges from authorized retailers if you live in a state where cannabis is legal. Those in states where prohibition still exists need to exercise extreme caution regarding the cartridges that they buy. In the meantime, the affected companies have started taking legal action against the counterfeiters, but history has shown that such a battle is hard to win in the long-term.
The new trend across the country is cannabis vapes and many people are switching from smoking joints to getting their hit by vaping cannabis oil. However, there is limited information to guide vapers on how to indulge safely. A recent article explores a number of issues that one should think about when vaping CBD oil. First, vaping can make the impact of the oil up to four times stronger, so you need to start cautiously to avoid an overdose. Secondly, pay attention to the source of the CBD oil you are vaping because product quality (or the lack thereof) may trigger or worsen the side-effects of vaping even if CBD oil is quite safe if it is unadulterated. Furthermore, people who are on medication should exercise more caution because vaping CBD oil can result in reactions between the medication one is taking and the cannabis oil. Read the entire article and learn what else is recommended for those vaping CBD oil.
Experts have released a commentary that warns that it would be disastrous for policymakers and researchers to regard electronic cigarettes in the same way that they regard tobacco cigarettes. This is because such a mentality can result in the formulation and enforcement of wrong policies as well as conducting inherently faulty research. For example, many jurisdictions continue to ban vaping in public places and yet all the available scientific research shows that there is no danger to bystanders. Researchers are also potentially making mistakes by assuming that vaping patterns are similar to smoking patterns. For example, smokers tend to keep taking puffs on their cigarette until they have consumed it all. However, vapers can light up and turn the device off intermittently since the e-cig doesn’t have to be vaped continuously until the e-liquid in the device is exhausted. Researchers should be aware of such distinctions and structure their research appropriately. The commentary is worth reading if you want to learn how the differences between vaping and smoking can have far-reaching implications for science and public health policy.
Have you been taking CBD oil and want to expand the range of delivery modes that you can choose from? Ministryofhemp.com carried a timeless article that discusses the different benefits that you will enjoy when you start vaping CBD oil instead of taking it orally or through other delivery methods. For example, the article explains how convenient vaping CBD oil is. You just have to carry the vape pen in your purse or pocket, then vape once you are alone. Additionally, vaping CBD oil brings the effects faster since the substance gets into your bloodstream through your lungs instead of the longer route of the digestive system. Vaping also allows you to control the dosage since you can mix your oil to a desired concentration. The article goes further and explains issues of higher product purity and the ease with which you get relaxed as you vape your CBD oil. The article is a must-read for anyone who wants to select a way to consume his or her CBD oil.
In the wake of the release of the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, the FDA has announced tough measures to curb what it calls an “epidemic” of youth vaping. Teen vaping reportedly increased by 78 percent over the past year, and this has the FDA worried. Consequently, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., announced that flavored e-cig products would no longer be sold in places that minors can access, such as convenience stores. The ban doesn’t apply to mint and menthol products because combustible tobacco cigarettes are still being sold in places with no age restrictions. The FDA didn’t want to give combustible cigarettes an advantage over e-cigarettes. Furthermore, the regulatory agency is planning to revise its timeline for the premarket approval of flavored products instead of waiting until 2021 as it had initially planned. The agency also plans to announce enhanced age-verification measures for the online sale of vaping products. Websites will be expected to comply with those guidelines as soon as they become available. One can only hope that the steps being taken by the FDA can put an end to the growing trend of minors using nicotine products.