When Z level celebrities need to increase their exposure on TV or social media because their relevancy is waning, they usually do something ridiculous to catch attention. Running around naked, going on reality TV or doing a car crash of an interview.
What do you do then, if you are an anti-tobacco group, and you see that people are no longer smoking, that smoking rates are falling, in both adult and teen demographics, and you realize that your relevancy is waning.
What do you?
One thing you could do is join forces with the FDA, create a crisis, target an e cigarette company and manipulate the entire thing to get your own way.
This accusation of manufacturing a crisis has been levelled at several anti-tobacco groups in Washington, due to their attempt to ban one brand of e cigarette, the Juul.
The Juul e cigarette looks like an elongated USB drive, has ‘pods’ of e-liquid that are said to be the equivalent of 20 tobacco cigarettes, and, as has been widely reported, are especially popular with teens.
‘Juuling’ as it is called, and stories about this device has been in the news for months. Totally Wicked has written numerous times about teen vaping, so we chose to leave this story alone.
However, 6 anti-tobacco groups recently released a joint letter regarding juuling and teens. The FDA have now acted upon that letter, and the company JUUL has responded to both, with an offer neither can really refuse.
The anti-tobacco groups kicked this saga off by putting out a statement in the form of a letter to Dr Gottleib. In it they ask for the Juul e cigarette to be banned. They want the FDA to remove the flavored e-liquid for the Juul, they want internet sales suspended, and they want all merchandising from Juul banned.
The FDA responded to this letter on April 24th, by asking the company ‘behind leading e-cigarette brand Juul for information on how its products appeal to kids and teens, opening the door to possible enforcement actions.’
The FDA simultaneously wrote to every e-cigarette company informing them they will be doing spot checks, and undercover buying to see who is selling to teens.
Much has been written about juuling, many parents and teachers have raised concerns as to its popularity.
How much of a problem is it?
According to theuncut.com Juuling is a trend that is on the way out. It started in New York in 2016, but sense in now kicking in and the teens interviewed stated they were giving up, as were many of their friends.
They took up the juul because “kids don’t want to be associated with cigarettes” – (huge win for the anti-tobacco groups there) – but kids still want to be cool.
It is this wanting to be cool that is probably the real issue here.
By the way, “rip the juul” is the teen lingo for having a vape.
Here are the statistics from The Monitoring the Future Survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse within the U.S. Department of Health. They “determined that only 0.7 percent of teens were regular users of e-cigarettes. The U.S. government’s National Youth Tobacco Survey determined that 0.6 percent of middle school students and 2.5 percent of high school students were frequent users. The New York Department of Health released data last March demonstrating that, while teen smoking was decreasing at a rate of about 1.25 percent from 2000 to 2012, teen smoking has been declining at a rate of about 2 percent a year since then.”
Here are some more: Statistics
‘Last year’s survey of local eighth-, tenth-, and 12th-graders reported that only 13 percent of high school seniors have used cigarettes in the past 30 days, down from 23 percent in 2003. Six percent of 10th-graders reported to be current smokers, and two percent of eighth-graders reported being a current smoker.
In 2017, 50 percent of twelfth-graders reported trying vaping at least once, but only 12 percent reported vaping regularly.
Only 4 percent reported using chewing tobacco and 10 percent used “other” tobacco products. Marijuana use declined from 29 percent of high schoolers using it in 2003 to 19 percent using it in 2017.
Overall, 81 percent of local students reported that they don’t use tobacco or vapor products.
“Most students are not vaping or using tobacco products,” reiterated Allen, explaining that it’s important for parents to inform their children that not everyone is doing it, limiting the effects of peer pressure-influenced decisions.
She also mentioned that young people’s brains are still developing, making them more susceptible to addiction and harmful effects of nicotine products.
“The longer you can delay the first use is a really positive thing,” Allen said.
But back to our saga….
Enter then the e-cigarette company…
JUUL has come back with an offer of $30 million to be invested over the next 3 years to achieve several goals.
– To help both state and federal initiatives to bring in a minimum age of 21 for the purchase of all tobacco products.
– To assist in initiatives to prevent youth buying tobacco products.
– A transparent and effective framework for Independent research focused on scientific and social implications of vaping.
– To ensure social media responsibility.
Apart from the financial investment, the positive PR that this will bring is huge. It has already garnered positive endorsements from Attorney General Tom Miller, and, this will level the playing field for JUUL.
They introduced in August 2017 an age restriction policy of 21 years and older only. They raised their purchase age, and so getting all others in the Industry to do the same, will benefit them.
Being seen to be actively providing what the anti-tobacco groups want is also of benefit, but this time, it could benefit everybody in the vaping world.
Showing a desire to work with legislators and to be independent may keep the anti-tobacco and FDA at bay for a few more years, plus, it will add to the growing body of research that is showing, time and time again that e cigarettes are a force for good.
The timing is perfect as the 4 years co-insides with the delay that the FDA has granted the deeming regulations.
What started out as a manufactured crisis, may help the Industry in the long run, IF, there is genuine focus on Independent, high quality research, and we are afforded the time.
Plus nobody wants kids to be vaping.