The fight against rising advertising.

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Our last blogs on vaping had such an impact that we decided to do one last up date to clarify how the vape industry is targeting our youth as an audience, and why.

 

 

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The last of the last four blogs about vaping I think best affirmed view points that showed equally pro and con the effects of this new activity.

 

The fact that vaping has less health concerns to the users makes it a wonderful tool in stopping the use of tobacco products. In that end many professionals are optimistically looking to vaping as a healthier option to adults who have a tobacco addiction, and for that we can see a progressive reasoning to encourage the positive change for smokers.

 

What I cannot wrap my head around is the fact that this industry has to greedily focus much of its advertising toward groups of kids who currently do not use any kind of inhalable products in their daily lives.

 

Lets once again just break down what e-juice or e-liquid is…. E-liquid is man-made juice used to cause the vaporizer to produce vapor. Most e-juices are made of Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), Distilled Water, added flavoring, and Nicotine. PG is an organic compound that causes the vape smoke to appear. We use it in smoke machines for effects. VG is also a base compound for e-liquids and is made up of vegetable oils. Using only Proplylen Glycol would cause the throat to hurt. Vegetable Glycerin is thicker than Proplylen Glycol and helps the vaporizer have a smoother inhale. Distilled water also helps as an active ingredient to smooth the harshness of the vaporizer. Lastly, most juices have added flavoring made of artificial and or organic food flavorings.

 

Here’s what I believe is one of the least known facts, at least by those unfamiliar with e-cigs and vaping, about this activity.   You can purchase e-juices with different strengths of nicotine, and most but not all juices contain nicotine like cigarettes. Nicotine being the physically addictive ingredient.  Many people do this to help quit their addiction to nicotine completely by using less and less as they progress over the course of time. Now what makes this a concern is most kids don’t care or don’t check wether the liquid they use has nicotine or not, which is why I think a little more regulation and research into these products is needed.

 

Ok …so I don’t want to get too deep into that, but it a good fact to know as you keep reading, because now you know that its up to the user what they put into their vape pen or mod.

 

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E-cigarette makers are pouring tens of millions of dollars into advertising their wares — and teenagers are getting the message loud and clear, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

As advertising skyrockets, so do the number of teens seeing it. They’re vaping by the millions now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The CDC says that trend threatens to derail decades of progress in helping prevent kids from taking up smoking.

“The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden.

 “What’s happening is widespread marketing of e-cigarettes that kids are seeing,” Frieden told reporters in a telephone briefing.

 “Kids should not be using e-cigarettes and yet 2/3 of kids in this country are seeing e-cigarette ads.”

CDC researchers used a 2014 survey of 22,000 children and teens to find that 68.9 percent of middle and high school students — more than 18 million kids — see e-cigarette ads. More than half see them advertised in stores, 40 percent online and 36 percent on TV or in movies.

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“During 2011 to 2014, current e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent, and among middle school students from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent,” the CDC said in a statement. "At the same time, spending on e-cigarette ads rose from $6.4 million to $115 million.”

Advocates said the industry must be stopped from advertising to children.

“The irresponsible and indiscriminate marketing by the e-cigarette industry, coupled with a complete lack of government oversight, is putting the health of our nation’s kids at risk,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that youth use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed when kids are being inundated with marketing for these products.”

Frieden said the tactics are effective, and include online “viral” marketing that cannot even be measured.

“E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes — independence, rebellion, and sex — used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products,” the CDC report said.

Public health experts have been clamoring for FDA to extend its authority as e-cigarettes have exploded in popularity. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg called the industry the “wild, wild West.”

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The American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network and the American Lung Association both urged the White House to speed authority for FDA to regulate e-cigarettes.

"Once the FDA has authority, the American Lung Association urges it to act swiftly to crack down and end marketing practices aimed at youth," the group said in a statement.

"It is also incumbent on states to enact and enforce laws to stop retailers from selling these products to children."

CDC says studies have shown that tobacco ads work. “Tobacco product advertising can entice youth to start using tobacco,” the report says.

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And limits on that advertising, as well as taxes, restrictions on retail sales, ads promoting tobacco abstinence and other measures have been shown to work.

But states are not using money they were awarded from tobacco companies to fight tobacco use, the CDC said.

“However, in 2015, states appropriated only 1.9 percent ($490.4 million) of combined revenues of $25.6 billion from settlement payments and tobacco taxes for all states on comprehensive tobacco control programs, representing less than 15 percent of the CDC-recommended level of funding ($3.3 billion) for all states combined,” it said.

“Only two states (Alaska and North Dakota) currently fund tobacco control programs at CDC-recommended levels.” *1

 

 

So if this advertising is not enough the vape industry has come up with a neat little way for our kids to hide the vaporizer needed to use these products.   “Teenagers embrace JUUL saying it is discreet enough to light up during class” is the headline that caugh my eye. Here is the entirety of that article….

 

“Mil Schooley, an 18-year-old student in Denver says most of her friends have a JUUL — an e-cigarette that can vanish into a closed fist. When asked roughly how many, she stumbles a bit. "I wanna say like 50 or 60 percent? I don't know. Maybe it's just the people I know. All my friends in college have one," she says. "It just blew up over the summer."

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Schooley doesn't have one herself — at least at the moment. Hers broke due to an unfortunate mishap involving her JUUL and soda water. But the trend to own a vape pen is real, with students bragging on Twitter about using them in class, and researchers saying they're seeing a big spike in use among teens and young adults.

"We're seeing it across college campuses and high schools. I have a friend who teaches high school, and they contacted me last week because they are having a major problem with e-cigs," says Meghan Morean, a substance addiction researcher at Oberlin College.

Devices like these might be introducing a new generation of teenagers to nicotine addiction and leading some vapers to take up smoking tobacco cigarettes, a study out in Pediatrics on Monday suggests. That would buck a national trend of teens drifting away from certain risky behaviors like drugs, alcohol and unprotected sex.

The Pediatrics study asked 808 students in three Connecticut high schools each year between 2013 and 2015 if they used e-cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes in the last month. The first year, 8.9 percent of students used a vape pen and 4.8 percent of students smoked cigarettes in the last month. "[People] who used e-cigarettes were 7 times more likely to smoke cigarettes by the second survey, and almost 4 times more likely by the third survey," says Krysten Bold, an associate research scientist at Yale School of Medicine and lead author on the study. The third year of the study, 14.5 students had used a vape pen in the previous month, and 8.5 student smoked cigarettes. (JUUL didn't enter the market until 2015.)

 

 

The long term effects of vaping e-liquids — a solution of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavors and nicotine or hash oils – are still not known, says Morean, who is an author on the study. But researchers are skeptical that the vapor is harmless. "You're still breathing in like hot chemicals into your body," she says.

Researchers say the most worrying aspect is nicotine, which is damaging to brain development, and is addictive. E-cigarettes can deliver a very high concentration of the drug, and experts worry that the popularity of vape pens is putting a new generation at risk of nicotine dependence.

"This excellent and important work demonstrates that electronic cigarettes are a path of nicotine addiction for youth," says Dr. Harold Farber, a pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital and chair of the Tobacco Action Committee for the American Thoracic Society, who was not involved with the study. "It's a short jump from there to combustible cigarettes [which] delivers a better hit."

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One reason JUUL and vape pens are so popular among teens currently might be that they can be used indoors without attracting unwanted attention or creating a stench, Morean says. On Twitter, teens post about their usage in school. The most brazen of them fire up their e-cigarettes while their teachers' backs are turned.

"y'all this kid came into my 7th period to get a juul and we all started laughing when he left so the teacher was really confused and we go "that's drug paraphernalia" and he RAN OUT THE DOOR AFTER THE KID," @hyphyybriannaa tweeted.

"Never knew inanimate objects could play hide n seek till I bought a #juul," @jakeraccioppi writes.

Vapers also have a nigh-infinite range of flavors to sample with amusing names like "I Love Blue Raspberry Candy" or unappetizing but intriguing ones like "Beard Vape." Those flavors might be another reason why vaping has struck such a mania among teenagers. "This is really appealing to adolescents," Morean says.

 

The Food and Drug Administration has banned most flavored cigarettes and tobacco products for this reason, but the agency hasn't banned flavored vapes.

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The FDA does have the authority to regulate e-cigarette products as of 2016, says Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "However, the FDA delayed key provisions for an additional four years. That means highly flavored e-cigarettes will go unregulated essentially for years to come," he says. The postponed regulations would require all e-cigarette products, including flavors, to have FDA approval before going on the market.

The potential for e-cigarettes to help get adult smokers off tobacco is one reason why the FDA has been slow to act on e-cigarettes, says Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, a psychiatrist at Yale University and the senior author on the Pediatrics study. "I think the FDA wants more evidence and more data. I certainly don't blame them, you want to make the right decision," she says. "The FDA is starting to implement some prevention policies [for youth vaping]." But for now, she says, there is a public health gap where teens are concerned.

 

The JUUL device, with its sleek design that resembles a flash drive, is a special hit with teens. "It's definitely more discreet," Schooley says. "JUULs are so simple [too]. I think that's why they do so well, because they're so simple and easy." The JUUL also has multiple flavors available – mint, tobacco, mango, crème brulee and fruit.

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JUUL has also managed to capture a more mainstream audience than vape pens.

"People who JUUL can be normal people, but people who vape are like a certain crowd," Schooley says. Using the device isn't called vaping, a verb reserved for more complex or modified contraptions, but JUULing. The words give the device a less ominous atmosphere than e-cigarette or vaping. "I know it's an e-cigarette, but I don't like to call it that because you can JUUL and not be addicted to nicotine," Schooley says. "I don't smoke cigarettes, and I don't think I ever will."

A spokesperson for JUUL Labs, the manufacturer for the JUUL device, said that the company wants to "eliminate cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers with a better alternative to combustible cigarettes. No minor should be in possession of a JUUL." Both the design and the flavors offered were intended to make the device more inviting to adult cigarette smokers, not children, the spokesperson said in a statement in an email response. "We are committed to introducing new flavors carefully and responsibly."

While college student Schooley doesn't have strong concerns about nicotine addiction, JUUL cartridges have a high concentration of nicotine. A single pod, which Schooley says would last her a week, has roughly the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes. Schooley says she didn't realize this.

"I am feeling a little more apprehensive about it," she says. "That makes me sad. I think I'm going to consult people before I decide to buy another JUUL. But it's hard because even if I didn't buy one, I'm still gonna be surrounded by JUULs." *2

 

Is there not enough of a market in the 1.1 billion smokers who could be convinced this is a viable alternative to smoking?   Why do these companies need to target young people who have not started using any kind of smoking or vaping device? 

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In the end its up to us to keep our kids minds from being influenced by these advertising moguls and without some regulation to their advertising  and retailing techniques it will become an up hill battle we as parents are going to have to fight.

 

 

Wishing you the best health- Guy R. VentMask Team Member

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*1(https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/e-cigarette-ads-target-millions-kids-cdc-says-n490601)

*2(https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/04/568273801/teenagers-embrace-juul-saying-its-discreet-enough-to-vape-in-class)