👆How Electronic Cigarettes May Save Your Life

an urgent new warning for anyone who
fakes health officials sending an urgent
warning another warning about the
dangers of e-cigarettes it seems as if
every week brings a major new story
about how vaping is really really really
bad for you but only a few years ago
electronic cigarettes were hailed as a
new and healthier way for people to
consume nicotine and pot and the number
of vapors worldwide has grown Sevenfold
since 2011 to an estimated 41 million
users we're doing the Joule but now
vaping is being attacked as a dangerous
trend that's luring teenagers into a
deadly habit that's as bad as
traditional smoking they say it is more
addictive than cigarettes vaping drugs
is so discrete teens can do it right in
school this is a public health disaster
reports on vaping related deaths and
respiratory illnesses appear daily on
cable news shows in newspapers and
online the FDA is considering a ban on
flavored East cigarettes and many states
have already instituted strict
regulations on vaping sales in use
Congress has voted to change the age for
legal tobacco and e-cigarettes sales to
twenty one people are dying children
that died people died we act quick when
there's Ebola and flu epidemics we've
got to act quick with these cigarettes
is vaping bad for you should we be
panicking what sorts of policies should
govern the use of electronic cigarettes
for nicotine and for marijuana to answer
these and other questions i sat down
with Reason senior editor Jacob solemn
who is written extensively and
authoritative Lee about the issue four
years do you think it qualifies as a
kind of moral or healthcare panic so
it's a pen it's a panic in two ways one
that people are implying that legal
nicotine see cigarettes by just Killian
when in fact if you're a smoker they
might just save your life is the real
you know the reasonable way to look at
the issue and the other thing is that
people are panicking about teenage
vaping which I would say is cause for
concern but I don't think it's something
to panic about I don't think it's
something to certainly not a reason
to ban products that ought to be
available to adults who would like to
use them as a safer source of nicotine
the FDA won't tolerate a whole
generation of young people becoming
addicted to nicotine we could really a
dict a new generation of kids a new
generation of nicotine addicts and part
of the panic over teen vaping started
before these respiratory illnesses or
deaths attributed to vaping yes and so
let's talk about that for a second
why are why are people worried about
teens vaping the most serious concern I
think would be if you imagine that some
teenagers who would never use a tobacco
product because e cigarettes are
available will get introduced to
nicotine will get hooked on nicotine and
then eventually move on to smoking that
would be bad there's very little
evidence that anything like that is
happening in fact as the popularity of
e-cigarettes took off among teenagers
and young adults youth not only has the
downward trend in smoking in those group
continued but it's actually accelerated
and so even though they may say that
always like 28 percent of high school
students are current vapors that means
past month if you say who is it who is
vaping on a daily basis right it's about
6 percent so that's a significant
phenomenon but it's not a whole
generation getting addicted to nicotine
which is a phrase you will often hear
and furthermore if you dig into the data
and look who are these people the vast
majority of people who are vaping daily
are people who also have smoked
cigarettes are a gateway to traditional
cigarettes a gateway to smoking look
like it is a gateway so it doesn't look
like vaping and serving as a gateway to
smoking it looks like vaping a serving
as a substitute for smoking and
certainly you hear that a lot of
anecdotal reports at least of adults
saying you know I couldn't stop smoking
until vaping and now I don't smoke and I
don't even really vape anymore is that
is it accurate to say that a lot of
people or how many people are using
vaping as a way to get off of regular
cigarettes well there are a few million
Americans who used to smoke and now they
so we know that we know from clinical
research where they do a randomized
trial that using e-cigarettes to quit
smoking is about twice as effective as
using conventional nicotine substitutes
like nicotine patches nicotine gum that
sort of thing we also know that it's far
less dangerous than smoking but a
cigarette SAR not an fda-approved method
to quit smoking you're going to burn a
liquid and inhale it into your lungs
first of all it doesn't contain tobacco
it doesn't burn anything so the fact
that you're not inhaling smoke makes a
huge difference it they've measured
levels of various potentially hazardous
chemicals in the blood streams of vapors
and versus smokers and they find that
the levels and vapors are comparable to
the levels in people almost like the
levels of people who don't smoke at all
do consumers have enough information to
make an informed decision well if you're
if by consumers you're referring to
smokers who are thinking of switching to
e-cigarettes yes you haven't definitely
have enough information at this point to
know that if you make that switch your
risk of developing life-threatening
disease will be much much lower
we don't know all of the potential
health risks of vaping because we don't
have long-term data we've only know this
is something that's only been around for
a decade or so and so it's possible that
there are some risks that are not now
recognized but there's no way that this
is going to be anywhere near as
dangerous as lighting something on fire
and inhaling all the combustion products
that come out of that
so for smokers it's very clear that if
they switch to this other source of
nicotine their health risks are going to
go way down we don't want to be
discouraging people who are current
smokers from considering this
alternative or making it harder for them
to find those products and even among
teenagers as I was saying if you're
talking about teenagers who are now
vaping who otherwise would be smoking
it's better that they're vaping I mean
if you look at the historical data on
smoking among teenagers the levels have
never been lower they're coming home and
they're saying mom I want a baby in
response to increases in teenage vaping
the FDA has sought to ban flavored
cigarettes but after pushback from
vapors and the industry President Trump
appeared to backtrack last month they
were you know spooked by the politics
that is in the pushback still starting
in 2020 all vaping products including
those currently on the market must go
through an application for FDA
approval so this is a very expensive
process I mean there's a debate about
exactly how much it's going to cost but
even the FDA says it's an undreds of
thousands of dollars from her
application and so if you've got if
you're a company especially if you're a
small company a mom-and-pop operation
that is producing dozens of different
flavors you need to you know apply for
approval of each of those flavors and
it's not clear exactly what you have to
do to get the FDA's approval the
standard is they have to decide whether
this is good for public health or so
it's not enough to simply show that it's
safe I don't want to say safe we should
always a safer less hazardous because
nothing's 100% safe but definitely much
less hazardous than conventional
cigarettes which of course are continue
to be available that's not enough
because the FDA also will look at who
might start vaping who otherwise never
would have used it tobacco products
including you know teenagers as well as
well as adults might some of those
people then move on to use tobacco
products what about people who might
have quit smoking except they started
vaping when they couldn't smoke and now
they're continuing that habit they
otherwise would have quit you can't
really project alright but they're
supposed to pretend to project that and
they're supposed to be demanding
evidence on points like like those from
these manufacturers a big company like
Joule which is partly owned by Altria
now they can definitely afford to go
through this process and get their
products approved the vast majority of
companies are not going to be able to
afford it some of them may only be able
to afford it for a few of what they are
now offering so basically the market is
gonna look much different it's gonna
they're gonna it's gonna wipe out a live
a lot of the competition a lot of the
variety and that's a shame you are I
mean artisanal vaping is probably gonna
be a thing of the past
well and and this industry went from
zero to where it is now it's billions of
dollars and a lot of that is like small
producers right yes I mean you have in
any town of you know significant size
you've got vape shops where they not
only sell the devices but they also so
the illiquid that goes in the devices
and they very often concoct it there
they will make it to order they will
combine the flavors you want that's that
you know with the nicotine concentration
you want that will be basically
impossible you're not gonna have small
businesses that that can meet this
regulatory burden so they're going to go
out of business and this
threat of course comes from if you ban
e-cigarettes flavors you are abandoning
the products that former smokers
overwhelmingly prefer mango root beer
float strawberry cheesecake cotton candy
or like gummy bear they don't have
enough redeeming public health value
given all the youth use to remain on the
market everybody says oh these are
clearly designed to lure teenagers
because of the fruity and flavors and
the candy flavors and the dessert
flavors and it's true that those do
appeal the teenager know quite they also
appear to appeal to adults it's very
clear that those are the flavors that
people who have quit smoking
overwhelmingly prefer so you're wiping
out the vast majority of the market by
banning those flavors and it doesn't
make sense if your concern is smoking
related disease and death because
inevitably a lot of these people have
quit smoking are gonna go back to
smoking once the products they prefer no
longer legally available and a lot of
people who might have switched will now
be less likely to to try out each
cigarettes if all they can get us to the
back of there which is terrible by the
way I'm no idiot but tobacco I mean the
tack of flavors it's a matter of taste
obviously but but overwhelmingly the
smokers are trying to get away from this
flavor that they associate with their
former habit and which makes a kind of
psychological sense and they should have
those options there is a major break
tonight in the nationwide vaping crisis
rising concerns about teenage vaping
reached a head this past summer just as
a new vaping related controversy erupted
an outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping
related injuries and deaths the
expanding epidemic tied to vaping the
current crisis may be only the beginning
the CDC began receiving reports of
mysterious vaping linked lung illness
from around the country ultimately
identifying over 2,500 cases that have
led to over 50 deaths some of them
involve nicotine some marijuana some
boats but contrary to much of the media
coverage solemn says the people who got
sick overwhelmingly used illegal
cannabis veins not legal nicotine veins
how do you get that basically off the
streets I guess off like a drug dealer a
recent study of patients in Minnesota
bolstered this view they interviewed a
bunch of them and said what products do
you use and they found that
overwhelmingly they were using THC
products not nicotine products
now even the people who say I never
vaped anything but nicotine first of all
they may not know what they actually
gave if they're using black-market
products they may not know what those
products contained secondly they may not
be telling the truth because they may be
reluctant to admit that they used an
illegal drug and we know from some of
the research that some of the people who
don't report vaping THC test positive
for THC so so clearly there's some
underreporting so it could very well be
the case that these conditions are
entirely attributable to black-market
cannabis products you say black-market
cannabis products you're not talking
about you can go to places like
California or Colorado Nevada and buy
legal THC vaping products so you're not
talking about the ones that you would
get at a dispensary right there have
been a couple of cases in Oregon where
lung injuries were associated with the
purchase of products from a
state-licensed source and there is some
evidence that some licensed
manufacturers were producing THC vapes
that included vitamin E acetate which is
the main at this point the main chemical
of concern this is a substance that both
allows you to dilute your vaping
solution and to thicken it at the same
time so it doesn't look like it's been
diluted it looks more likely Buehler
expecting the vast majority of cannabis
favs containing vitamin E acetate were
sold on the black market as word spread
among sellers that they could use the
additive to boost their profits it seems
like it's something in the last six
months or so so it's something new
there's been vaping going on for a long
time in the same Minnesota study the
authors found that no THC products
seized by the police in 2018 contained
vitamin E acetate but all of those
seized in 2019 did when they test lung
fluid from these patients they
consistently find vitamin E acetate that
is the most likely culprit at this point
there could be other toxins contemp it
could be contaminants or things people
deliberately add in some of these lat I
say black market products is you have no
control you know quality control and you
don't know what you're getting that's
that's the crucial issue so to the
extent that they respond to this problem
by the government's you know States or
the federal government by banning
products it only makes things worse
because you're pushing people to use the
blackmarket vapes where you don't know
what you're getting and you don't know
it you don't know what's in them as
federal health officials and lawmakers
were pushing bans in response to the
alleged teenaged nicotine vaping crisis
the outbreak of cannabis related vaping
illness hit state officials saw their
opportunity to respond forcefully to
both perceived crises and decided to
target the entire vaping industry not
just sellers of the illicit THC vapes
that likely caused the outbreak noting
out an epidemic Michigan becoming the
first state to ban the sale of flavored
east cigarettes a bunch of states
imposed in emergency bans
these are unilateral bands that are
imposed by the executive branch by the
governor and typically what they have
done is banned flavored vaping products
in Massachusetts they impose a total ban
on vaping products including marijuana
which is legal there now and so it
doesn't make sense in the sense that if
people really like vaping and now you've
made the legal you know THC they you
know no longer available they're gonna
be more inclined to use the black-market
product which is is the source of the
problem but at least they're not you
know just just going after flavored you
know nicotine cigarettes and pretend and
pretending that this is doing something
about these lung injuries because it has
nothing to survive as we can tell has
nothing to do those products have
nothing to do with the lung injuries so
I think in Massachusetts the state
legislature has come in and now they are
banning just specifically nicotine
vaping products in any flavor except
tobacco but you will once again be able
to buy the marijuana you know vaping
products in whatever flavors they want
off is there a sense particularly at the
state level you know is there evidence
that will persuade the regulators to say
you know what we made a mistake we're
gonna let these products go back on the
market well I think as more evidence
emerges that implicates these
black-market THC products in the lung
disease outbreak gradually you will see
government agency agencies acknowledging
this reality the CDC has already changed
the advice it is giving it is
emphasizing black market product in
particular black market THC products all
you know conceivably there's a threat
from black-market nicotine products as
well you don't really know what's in
them either so they are starting to
change what they're saying and one thing
one thing that the FDA and CDC have been
saying for quite a while now is if you
are a smoker who is switched to vaping
don't switch back
well that's sound advice but it's
undermined by this panic that you
generate by implying that
oh that Joule might just kill you
because of this disease is the lung
disease outbreak that actually has
nothing to do with problem what's a
preferable regulatory structure there
should be rules against fraud you should
have to say what's in the product it
should not be so cumbersome to get
approval that you wipe out most of the
competition and you discourage
innovation because if you have to if
every time you change your product is it
becomes a new product and yet this has
been a new application that obviously
discourages from making products that
are more convenience that are more
economical that are more appealing that
are potentially less dangerous you know
you can also imagine there are ways to
prevent underage use of these products I
mean there's schemes involving apps on
your phone that would be that would
communicate with your vaping device and
it would prevent anybody except the
authenticated owner from using the
device I don't know if that would ever
take off but it's an option you can't
even try in the current regulatory
environment because it would take so
long to get approval for something like
that you want to have a regulatory
environment where people know what
they're buying unlike in the black
market and where there's room for
competition and innovation and where the
barriers to entry are not so high that
only you know big corporations can