Is Massachusetts Set To Change Vaping Forever?
Maura Healey, the Attorney General for Mass, is currently investigating Juul for “getting kids to start vaping”
We are constantly inundated with new stories about how vaping is posing a serious threat to society. Some people worry about the long-term effects of vaping, while others question if they should be treated differently than cigarettes. But one of the most common things you’ll hear against vaping is the idea that acceptance of vaping for smoking cessation and harm reduction purposes will directly lead more teens to start not only vaping, but also smoking. Fortunately, the reputable evidence we have on the subject seems to indicate that this particular concern is overblown. A poll of over 60,000 teens conducted in the UK by Action on Smoking and Health concluded that only as few as 0.1% of non-smoking teens start using vaporizers on a regular basis.
Regardless, we are all accustomed to fighting false claims over the value of e-cigarettes from politicians who are looking for an easy scapegoat. Juul Labs has been taking the majority of the blame, as the most popular cig-a-like maker across the globe. In fact, 2018 has been a challenging year for the quickly growing company, with what seems like one controversy after another. The newest issue Juul Labs is dealing with is an investigation led by Attorney General of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, who believes Juul is purposefully “getting kids to start vaping.”
Maura Healey is convinced that Juul is up to no good, referencing the simple fact “way too much of their product is ending up in the hands of young people and ending up in schools,” as proof of wrongdoing. She hopes to uncover precisely what Juul Labs is up to regarding underage vapers, such as if they are tracking sales among this group, or aiming to understand how to market toward them. Healey goes as far as to call into question the morality of the harm reduction company, “This isn’t about getting adults to stop smoking cigarettes. This is about getting kids to start vaping… They’re engaged in an effort to get kids addicted, to get kids hooked so that they’ll have customers for the rest of their lives.”
While Juul Labs are the ones dealing with this problem directly, the truth is that if Maura Healey has her way, the entire vaping industry will be subject to a massive overhaul. It’s also making it much harder to convince a significant portion of the general public that vaping provides an invaluable service and should be appropriately utilized, not treated as a mere alternative to tobacco. We’ve known since PHE released their now famous report back in 2015 that e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than traditional cigarettes. If that wasn’t enough, research published last fall indicates that vapers are much less likely to develop cancer than a demographically similar smoker. In fact, the study concluded that a vaper has about a 57,000 times lower lifetime excess cancer risk than a smoker.
A Transformative 2018
Juul Labs has endured a ton of adversity this year from both the public and private sectors. They’ve faced increasing bans and taxes from legislators while facing lawsuits from parents who claim Juul lead their child to a life a vaping. They’ve actually done a lot to mitigate these issues, as opposed to fighting or denying them. Earlier this year they pledged over $30 million over the next three years to establish more independent research on the long-term effects of vaping.
But one of the most significant concerns Juul faces is the backlash from parents. That’s why the started an advertising campaign designed to inform parents about their products and how to tell if your child is trying to hide it from you. In addition to that, they also refocused their social media posts, removing any paid models and instead using only real customers who have successfully quit smoking thanks to Juul. They’ve even reported well over 10,000 illegal online sales since January according to their press releases.
Not all government officials are so hell-bent on destroying what has been proven to be one of the best harm reduction and smoking cessation tools ever created. In fact, the Attorney General for Iowa is actually in the middle of a fight with the FDA over an e-liquid flavor ban they want to implement. But for now, the majority of people are still convinced that vaping is no good. Polls conducted by Action on Smoking and Health has found that only about 13% of adults actually understand that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. What’s worse is that 26% seem to believe that vaping is just as, if not more dangerous than tobacco.
We must keep our thoughts positive if we really want to weather this storm. The evidence that we have strongly indicates that not only is vaping a lot safer than smoking, it’s also the best smoking cessation tool we currently have at our disposal. If we really value living in a smoke-free world, it would be in our best interest to support vaping and not treat it as just an alternate tobacco product. That’s why we must work to inform our peers and representatives that vaping is hugely beneficial and should be treated as such.
Is Juul Labs actually trying to get kids hooked? What do you think makes politicians so sure about their motives? How can we help more people understand how much safer vaping is than smoking? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.