Michigan becomes the first state in the country to ban the sales of e-cigarette flavouring, joining the city of San Francisco, as it becomes more and more blatant that flavoured e-cig juices are intended to entice teenagers.
The federal government and states ban the sale of vaping products to minors, yet government survey figures show that last year, one in five U.S. high school students reported vaping in the previous month. Top government health officials, including the surgeon general, have flagged the trend as an epidemic.
“This is a health crisis that we’re confronting, and it would never be permitted if it was cigarettes. We’re letting these companies target our kids, appeal to our kids and deceive our children,” Whitmer told reporters. Michigan’s chief medical executive determined that youth vaping constitutes a public health emergency.
Man, this is insane on this e-cig graphic I pulled up online of some e-cigarette flavours — pancake mix, strudel, watermelon bubble gum, blueberry, and Rice Krispie treats.
Wait … RICE KRISPIE TREATS?
Rice Krispie Treats. And you’re telling me these AREN’T being used to entice kids? Seriously? When I see shit like this, I have ZERO sympathy for the e-cig industry and the regulatory morass that is coming for them. They literally BEGGED for it. Jesus. Are people using e-cigs to quit smoking REALLY wanting pancake mix and Rick Krispie Treat flavoured e-cigs?
From the AP story:
Nearly 80% of underage teenagers who use e-cigarettes and other tobacco products cited flavors when asked why they took up the habit, according to government research.
Think about that. 80 percent. See if any other jurisdictions start banning e-cigarette flavouring.
Wow, this really interesting. This story blew me away. Apparently, some state and federal agencies and some state attorneys general looking into the company’s marketing practices. Could this be the fall of mighty Juul?
The attorneys general of Washington, D.C. and Illinois (and four other states) are investigating just how Juul became so popular with teens, literally within months of Juuls hitting the market.
I know one thing Juul did was very smartly (in an evil way) use Instagram and other social media to market Juul to mostly young people … who are on Instagram. I also know they totally came out of NOWHERE to completely dominate the e-cig market (they control about 75 percent of the market).
A senior Illinois law enforcement official described to the Associated Press a wide-ranging inquiry being conducted by the office of Illinois Atty. Gen. Kwame Raoul that is centered on whether Juul violated state consumer fraud laws and other statutes by designing and marketing its products to appeal to underage teens. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Marrisa Geller, a spokeswoman for District of Columbia Atty. Gen. Karl Racine, confirmed in an emailed statement that an investigation of Juul is underway. She said Racine is concerned about “the dramatic increase in the use of vaping products by district youth” as well as the policies and practices employed by e-cigarette manufacturers to prevent minors from using their products.
The attorneys general in Colorado, Connecticut and Massachusetts have announced investigations of Juul related to concerns over underage use of its products. North Carolina’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Juul in May, asking a court to limit the company’s sales and marketing in the state.
I’m wondering here just how much shit Juul is actually in, but it sounds like possibly a lot. It sounds like there could be RICO statutes involved. This trouble isn’t going to go away anytime soon and it certainly begs the question of whether this might be the beginning of the end for the company.
Interestingly, Juul actually donated $3,000 to the election campaign of the attorney general of Illinois, but he refused it on ethical grounds. Good for him.
Juul also has a bottomless pit of financing to fight the attorneys general. Remember, they are partly owned by Altria, which owns Philip Morris and Marlboro cigarettes.
I’ll definitely be keeping on eye on this story to see if anything comes of it.
As San Francisco officials prepare to consider a bill that would suspend the sale of e-cigarettes in the city, the CEO of Juul Labs — the controversial, homegrown company that sells the majority of e-cigarettes in the U.S. — said he’s committed to keeping the business and its fast-growing workforce in San Francisco.
“Yes, we’re staying,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said Thursday in a wide-ranging interview with The Chronicle’s editorial board. “San Francisco is our home. We want to be in San Francisco. We have 1,200 employees in San Francisco, a huge talent base in San Francisco. We want to be a resident, and I’m hopeful we’ll find a way to be a resident.”
And beyond that, Juul is going to fight the city’s ban on selling vaping products. The company is sponsoring a sneaky voter initiative that is being presented as an anti-tobacco initiative. What it really is is a backdoor attempt to override San Francisco’s ban on e-cigarette sales.
Juul wants to place an initiative on the November ballot that would essentially override [San Francisco’s e-cig sales ban], if it is passed, by ensuring that e-cigarettes could continue to be sold in San Francisco. The ballot measure is being framed as an attempt to further restrict tobacco sales to minors, but most of those restrictions are already in place under state law.
Tobacco industry critics say Juul has used deceptive language, trying to frame the initiative as the last word in tobacco regulation in San Francisco by including the words “Comprehensive regulation of vapor products … the provisions of this initiative may only be amended by a vote of the people.”
Juul said the ballot measure, if passed, would prevent the Board of Supervisors from enacting an e-cigarette ban in the future — but it would not negate tobacco laws the city has already enacted, such as a ban on flavored tobacco that voters passed last year.
Oh, sneaky, sneaky, sneaky bastards, using the same sneaky doublespeak techniques that their overlord Altria and Philip Morris have used for years.
It appears at least one person has died in the surge of vaping-related illnesses, mostly in the Midwest.
An Illinois man who came down with a sudden respiratory illness after vaping died. All told, at least 193 lung illnesses have been identified as being related to vaping. There are dozens more cases under investigation that might be tied to this outbreak.
It appears that there was a contaminated or purposely poisoned batch of vaping fluid. And it appears it was being sold on the streets. Reportedly, it’s both nicotine and marijuana involved, though all the stories I’ve read seem to be hinting that this is mostly happening with THC vaping fluid.
In Wisconsin, a 26-year-old man started to feel ill and was hospitalized after taking a couple of hits from a new vape cartridge. Dylan Nelson of Burlington, Wisconsin, eventually had to be put into a medically induced coma after his lungs started filling with liquid.
He has since been released and is recovering.
His brother, Patrick DeGrave, said that Nelson purchased the cartridge off the street and not from a reputable shop.
“You don’t know if you’re buying something from a middleman that picked it up from a dispensary or if you’re buying it from somebody who has tampered with it and made their own mixture,” he said. “You literally don’t know what you’re inhaling into your body.”
“First of all, I’d tell them that I’m sorry that their child’s using the product,” said Kevin Burns, who joined Juul in late 2017. “It’s not intended for them. I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them. As a parent of a 16-year-old, I’m sorry for them, and I have empathy for them, in terms of what the challenges they’re going through.”
Oh, baloney, Kevin Burns, especially his bullshit about “I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them.”
Juul was one of the vaping companies that most aggressively and successfully used social media to advertise its products, including Instragram “influencers.” Jull very quickly came to dominate the e-cig industry, gaining control of over 70 percent of the industry. This guy Burns is so full of it. He apologized because he got called to testify before congress and because lawsuits are piling up against Juul over addicting kids to nicotine (it turns out Juul pods are considerably more powerful with higher amounts of nicotine than other e-cig companies). This really takes the cake as one of the phoniest “apologies” I’ve ever seen. The L.A. Times even wrote an op-ed piece called, “Let’s call it a Juuling epidemic.”
Yet Juul’s critics point to the company’s initial advertising campaign, which featured bright colors and young looking models, as evidence that Juul fueled the surge in teen vaping. Co-founder Adam Bowen said in retrospect the ads were “inappropriate.”
“When we launched Juul, we had a campaign that was arguably too kind of lifestyle-oriented, too flashy,” he said. “It lasted less than six months. It was in the early days of the product introduction. We think it had no impact on sales.”
The Campaign for Smokefree Kids thought the same of Burns’ apology as I did.
Once again, Juul is following the tobacco industry’s playbook: Proclaim loudly that they don’t want kids to use their product, while never admitting that their marketing targeted and attracted kids. Like its partner Altria, Juul still refuses to admit that the company’s marketing targeted kids or has played a major role in youth use of its e-cigarettes – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
This is a deceptive, self-serving gesture by Juul given their complete refusal to take responsibility for creating the youth e-cigarette epidemic. It is a blatant attempt to deflect attention from the company’s wrongdoing while it opposes meaningful government regulation to prevent it from continuing to addict kids. There can be no doubt about Juul’s role in the current youth epidemic: It marketed a sleek, cool, high-tech product that comes in sweet flavors that appeal to kids, delivers a massive dose of nicotine that can quickly hook kids and was launched with social media marketing that a Stanford study found was patently youth-oriented.
This is one more example that Juul is more interested in repairing its image and expanding its sales than preventing youth use. Juul is following the tobacco industry’s playbook to the letter: Addict kids, deny responsibility for doing so, run slick PR campaigns to fool policy makers and the public, and fight real solutions to the problem.
One of the shows that has taken a lot of heat for portaying a hell of a lot of smoking is Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” The sheriff in that show is constantly smoking and Stranger Things has been specifically targeted by anti-tobacco advocates.
Personally, I’ve sure noticed that Netflix’s Bojack Horseman has a lot of smoking, but then again, it’s a show about an alcoholic, self-destructive, pill-popping, clinically depressed horse, so smoking kind of fits right in with his character. Bojack even smokes as a child after seeing Secretariat smoke on TV. His abusive mother catches him and forces him to smoke the entire cigarette just to show him that she hates him.
Bojack recalls this terrible memory of his mother’s cruelty as he’s smoking a cigarette … which he clearly isn’t enjoying.
There’s a scene in another show where Bojack is blowing smoke right in a little girl’s face and making her cough, but he’s such a narcissist he doesn’t even notice. The scene takes place from the 1990s, when some people were still buttheads about smoking around kids.
Another interesting sidenote about Bojack Horseman. His mother smoked constantly in the show and in the end, she dies of Alzheimer’s. I wonder if the people in the show even know that studies show a connection between smoking and Alzheimer’s and if they gave that some thought.
Interesting , the rise of smoking on TV is happening while depictions of smoking is on the downswing in movies. Disney (which is also Marvel and Star Wars) has a specific policy that no smoking is allowed in its movies. (There is one really brief cigarette scene in the extreme hard R-rated “Deadpool 2”. Deadpool literally uses a cigarette to kill himself. In the commentary on that movie, Ryan Reynolds said it just made more sense that since Deadpool is killing himself, he should be smoking a cigarette, not a joint.
Other shows mentioned in this article are “Orange is the New Black,” and the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
The Truth Initiative, which monitors tobacco depictions in the media, has noticed the increase in smoking onscreen in its “While You Were Streaming” report.
Long time since an update. I have been very busy and spend most of my spare time outdoors, hiking and trying to get back in shape this summer.
So, there’s a TON to catch up on. I will try to do this over the next few days.
First things first
Mysterious vaping illnesses
At least 150 teenagers around the U.S. have been admitted to emergency rooms with some mysterious lung disease caused by vaping.
They weren’t necessarily vaping tobacco; some of the teens were vaping marijuana.
The one common thread between all the illnesses. All of the victims were vaping. The other common thread, most of them appeared to have bought their vaping products on the street rather than legally through a store.
“One patient came in with full respiratory collapse and essentially had to be on life support,” said Dr. Jacob Kaslow, a pediatric pulmonary fellow at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Kaslow told NBC News that his hospital has treated four cases of vaping-related respiratory illness over the past six months. Tracking the cases has been tricky, as patients tend to have a variety of symptoms, including severe pneumonia and coughing up blood.
“We’re only discovering this now because we’re asking, ‘is there any history of vaping or electronic cigarette use?'” said Kaslow.
No deaths have been reported. But some patients have developed severe, progressive lung disease, and have required ongoing mechanical breathing assistance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with states to try to pinpoint an e-cigarette ingredient, e-liquid, device or purchase method linking all of the cases.
It’s unclear whether there was some kind of contamination of the devices or e-liquids that led to the 149-plus cases.
Some patients reported buying their vapes off the street.
“The evidence continues to point to street-bought vaping cartridges containing THC or synthetic drugs as being the cause of these illnesses,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, wrote in a statement to NBC News.
So, again, lots of questions about vaping and the contaminants that are found in vaping fluids. This isn’t the first illness tied to vaping. Vaping is already believed to be tied to a disease known as “popcorn lung” (the name comes from the fact that it was first tied to workers in popcorn factories).
San Francisco is considering banning the sales of ALL e-cigarette products, Period.
The city has been leading the charge against vaping. San Francisco has already banned the sales of fruity e-cigarette flavours. That ban was upheld by San Francisco city voters. Now, a San Francisco County Supervisor.
San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes in the city unless they get an FDA review. Supporters say that if the measure is approved, it would be the first such prohibition in the country. Its chances are not clear.
“We have people addicted to nicotine who would have never smoked a cigarette had it not been for the attractive products that target our young people,” said Walton, a former president of the San Francisco Board of Education.
Anti-tobacco activists say e-cigarette makers target kids by offering products in candy flavors and using marketing that portrays their products as flashy gadgets.
San Francisco was the first city in the United States to approve an outright ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and flavored vaping liquids, which voters upheld in 2018. The city prohibits smoking in parks and public squares and doesn’t allow smokeless tobacco at its playing fields.
The FDA has been talking about cracking down on e-cigarettes because of the exponential increase in teen vaping use. However, FDA administrator Scott Gottlieb, a strong opponent of vaping and the tobacco industry, recently resigned (and I believe he was forced out by the tobacco industry and the GOP), throwing FDA efforts to regulate e-cigarettes into flux.
Washington is the latest state that will be raising its smoking and vaping age to 21. The Washington State Senate just passed a bill and Gov. Jay Inslee quickly signed it earlier this month.
This is a push going on nationwide in cities and states. Washington is the ninth state in the nation to raise the smoking/vaping age to 21.
This is something I’ve long had slightly mixed feelings about. I think there’s a valid argument that if you’re old enough to vote, join the military and go to adult jail, you’re old enough to smoke and vape.
During debate over the measure, Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, pointed out that 18-year-olds can make major life decisions such as joining the military, and called it hypocritical to stop them from smoking if they wanted.
“The nanny state is alive and well, and this is another example,” said Padden.
However, I also hear the argument that this is a tool to stop the rapid increase in teen vaping. If you have to be 21 to buy vaping products it makes it that much harder for some 15-year-old kid to do it in a convenience store.
There are bills in other states, such as Virginia and Texas, to raise the smoking age, but I have no idea if there is any chance of passage in these states.
Now antismoking advocates want Mr. Iger to extend that rule to all future youth-rated films (G, PG, PG-13) made by Fox and its Fox Searchlight specialty label, which are among the assets that Disney is buying from Rupert Murdoch for $54.2 billion. Among other things, activists want “graphic health warnings” added to youth-rated films in the Fox library that depict smoking — like “Avatar” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” — before selling them on DVD or via video-on-demand services.
The requests were made in a Feb. 20 letter to Mr. Iger that was signed by 46 activists and faith-based shareholders. Boiled down, the dispatch, which has not previously been disclosed, raises a broader question shared by some people in Hollywood: How accepting will the Magic Kingdom be of the button-pushing content offered by Fox, the home of the R-rated “Deadpool” superhero franchise, the violent “Planet of the Apes” movies and “The Simpsons,” the show that once produced an episode featuring a nicotine-laced variety of tomato called “tomacco.”
Activists are continuously pressuring studios over one cause or another, but Mr. Murdoch has frequently dismissed such efforts as political correctness run amok. Disney, on the other hand, pays extraordinary attention to its brand perception, which activists often try to use to their advantage.
“We ask you now to follow your convictions, common sense and experience in keeping kids safe,” the antismoking activists wrote in their letter, a copy of which was given to The New York Times by Jono Polansky, a policy consultant for Smoke Free Movies, an initiative at the University of California at San Francisco. “Amid the myriad details involved in a corporate acquisition of this size and complexity, Disney cannot afford to leave young people’s health and lives unprotected.”
Tom McCaney, associate director of corporate social responsibility for Sisters of St. Francis, an activist order helping to lead the antismoking effort, said that Disney’s response to the letter was unsatisfactory. “Disney told us it wasn’t appropriate to discuss until the Fox deal goes through,” Mr. McCaney said. “We disagree.”
PS — that brief smoking scene in Avatar was wildly controversial, because there is absolutely no point to it. There is absolutely NO reason for it to be in the PG-13 movie, which anti-tobacco advocates loudly pointed out. And director James Cameron lashed out, basically saying, “don’t tell me how to do my job, man…”
The article I believe had a minor error, pointing out that Deadpool and X-Men were actually Fox Studio movies. Yes, they were, but they were also Marvel properties and my understanding is that Disney’s smoking ban applied to all Marvel properties, even those Marvel properties being made by other studios. So if you noticed in the Deadpool and Logan movies … no smoking. Except ironically, Deadpool does smoke one cigarette briefly in Deadpool 2 to commit suicide by using it to light a gasoline bomb. In the director’s commentary, Ryan Reynolds said they went back and forth about whether Deadpool should be smoking a joint or a cigarette before committing suicide, and they decided on a cigarette since he’s in the middle of killing himself anyway.