April 24, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
For the uninitiated, Vaping is all the craze. And not surprisingly, teen vaping is the fastest growing sector within this $2 billion (and growing) vaping industry.
And just what the Holy Vapor is Vaping you ask?
Vaping is a short-hand term for any device that allows its user to inhale vaporized liquid nicotine into one’s lungs. One of the more popular ways to get this vaping effect is through electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. But however one “vapes” they generally use some type of battery operated component with an atomizer which converts chemicals, including nicotine into an easily inhalable vapor. The last step in vaping is for the user to suck on a mouthpiece at the tip of the device or e-cig so that the vaporized nicotine can then be inhaled and absorbed directly.
Turns out that what started as a bit of a novelty back in 2003 is now an undisputed “here to stay” market force. Today there are over 300 US vaping brands alone which now come in dozens of tempting flavors like apple, strawberry, mandarin, banana burst, coffee, bourbon and mint.
Vaping advocates like actress Katherine Heigl say that not only does vaping taste great but it lasts longer than the average “real” cigarette. Recently, she showed up on the David Letterman show to vape with good ol’ toothy Dave himself and extolled the virtues of vaping. Just for the record, the average cigarette lasts for about 10-12 drags or extended puffs while the average e-cig lasts for a whopping 250-400 puffs.
Modern technology, the hits just keep on coming.
So, vaping is apparently a tasty treat for the whole family. Vapers come in all shapes and sizes, are disposable, rechargeable or refillable cartridges and look ma, no ash-tray mouth after-taste.
And if we include Ms. Heigl in the count, there are an estimated 4.5 million vapers in the US with women being in the majority of users.
But is vaping safe?
Well, the short answer is it all depends.
If, by safe, you mean is vaping better for you than smoking tobacco-based products then the answer seems to be Yes.
If, by safe, you mean is vaping not at all bad for you, then the answer is No.
Vaping is still made of primarily nicotine, an addictive chemical found in actual cigarettes, along with chemicals like propylene glycol (found in anti-freeze and rubber condoms) and formaldehyde (an embalming fluid).
Now, just how bad vaping is for you now and long-term is a rather divisive and unsettled matter of debate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the American Cancer Society (ACS), and medical experts published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) have all weighed in on the subject.
And the verdict is…
Muddled at best.
But one thing is clear or at least consensus among these experts.
Making it harder not easier for teens and kids to legally get their hands (and mouths) on e-cigarettes is probably the prudent route to go. At least for now until more is known about the long-term effects of vaping.
So, the FDA has proposed several rules that would impact the US Vaping industry. One would ban the product for anyone under age 18. Another would regulate where vending machines that sell e-cigarettes could be located (similar to how tobacco cigarette vending sales are regulated). And yet another proposed rule would make it mandatory for e-cigarette makers to have the ever-present (to real cigarettes) warning label about the addictive qualities of nicotine attached to each e-cigarette package.
But it’s what the FDA didn’t propose when it comes to vaping that has many health advocates and opponents of e-cigarette marketing very concerned.
On-line advertising and marketing targeted to teens and kids went unregulated in these newly proposed FDA rules. And those yummy flavors above, which research shows appeals most to teens, well, those aren’t being restricted or banned either. At least not at the moment.
FDA Secretary Margaret Hamburg calls the new proposed rules “foundational” and potential first steps but didn’t make clear where those initial steps might lead.
We do know this. Vaping is projected to be a $75-100 billion industry in the next 10 years or so with giant companies like Lorillard (Blu-e cigarettes), NJOY and Logic leading the way.
That kind of cash tends to let its manufacturers inhale a whole lot of good will from our elected officials and rule-makers. There is already an aggressive domestic vaping campaign afoot to make it harder for European-based vaping producers to control the US market.
So, all signs seem to indicate that this vaping “craze” is more than just a lot of hot (electronic?) air.
Vaping is here to stay.
The question is, at what price to our health?
The FDA has taken the first, however timid, steps in regulating what will no doubt become a heated battle in the years to come.
So, for now, the ball or e-cigarette is largely in your hands.
To vape or not to vape?
Remember, your kids are watching, you know, when they aren’t vaping themselves.
What to do?
Please see below the Tiger for more information on vaping and your health. You can also go to the FDA Government website link below for more information about the 75 day Notice and Comment period on the proposed rules mentioned in this blog.