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Is vaping the new smoking?

Well, duh, you might be thinking - of course it is! Ah, but the devices originally billed as designed to help cigarette smokers quit or switch to something less harmful are now hitting the headlines themselves as causes of lung disease and death.

In the USA, news of a dozen deaths and several hundred cases of lung disease - some of them teenage patients - have been linked to vaping, prompting calls for people to be discouraged from using e-cigarettes, vaping, juuling and similar until more information as to their long-term effects has been gathered.

Vaping and juuling have become super popular among teenagers in particular, sparking public indignation at the way they're marketed, often as a cool social activity. The image above is from awareness-raising campaign by the Truth Initiative.

The turn-the-tables spot depicts animals with voiceovers protesting against Juul, a type of e-cigarette, being tested on humans:-  https://addvertising.org/don-t-test-on-humans-urge-anti-juuling-animals

Originally presented as a healthier alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) used in vaping are coming under increasing scrutiny as alarming health implications emerge - among them, fresh statistics showing a vertiginous rise in the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers.

New US regulations ban the sale of all e-cigarettes/ENDS to anyone under 18 or without a health warning statement on the package. Juuls contain heated nicotine, ingested or vaped as an inhalable mist, but not tobacco itself. Truth Initiative is self-described as 'America's largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past.'

Top-selling brand Juul Labs, now worth an estimated $15 billion, has as its mission statement "to improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by providing the first true alternative to combustible cigarettes". In 2019, it poured over $100 million into advertising, using compelling formats such as personal stories.

Juul CEO Kevin Burns stressed in an August 2019 interview that Juul Labs has succeeded in bringing down the US rate of  cigarette smoking, and laid out the company's measures for curbing underage use of 'juuling' products. Later that month, the brand also announced a suspension on all broadcast, print and digital advertising in the USA.

In September, as Massachussetts became the first US state to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and related products for four months, Burns was stepped down and was replaced as CEO.

Juul Labs clarifies on its website that "The ingredients of our products do not include THC*, any compound derived from cannabis, or vitamin-E compounds like those found in cannabis-related products."

Storm in a teacup or seriously disturbing trends in public health? With so many billions at stake, it's not always easy to establish the facts through the smokescreen....

(*THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana)

Posted by Tree Elven on 30/09/2019


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