Let the games begin! FDA officially launches vaping flavors probe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially launched its 90-day formal review of tobacco flavorings on Tuesday, landing yet another potentially fatal blow to the American vaping industry.  FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and other agencies officials have been hinting for months that a possible vaping ban is not out of the question, sometimes taking to Twitter to issue thinly veiled warnings.

To be clear, the press release only states that the FDA is currently only exploring their options.  No new regulations have been released – yet.  For the next three-months, agency officials will only be seeking “public input” regarding the future role of flavored tobacco products in the United States.

Related Article:  ‘It’s combustible cigarettes (not e-cigs) that are the problem,’ says FDA’s Gottlieb on CNBC 

The main point of contention is the often-debated ideology that flavored tobacco products are somehow more “kid-appealing” which may lead to another generation of smokers.  Since the FDA deeming regulations of 2015 now reclassify e-cigarettes and e-liquids as tobacco products, the American vaping industry will also be negatively affected along with Big Tobacco should an FDA flavor ban take effect.  While all tobacco flavors are currently on the table, the FDA seems to be taking direct aim at menthol brands first.

FDA targets menthol tobacco flavors specifically

Menthol cigarettes have been controversial for decades, well before the recent surge in popularity of vaping in the past five years. Anti-tobacco activists have been wanting the FDA to ban menthols because they are considered a smoother, less harsh form of traditional tobacco-only flavors. And much like the American vaping industry in recent years, Big Tobacco manufacturers of menthol cigarettes have also been regularly accused of intentionally marketing their products to children.

Related Article:  New UK study views vaping is a ‘roadblock’ to teen smoking

All hope is not lost though.  Seven paragraphs into the lengthy press release, Gottlieb offers vapers a possible out-clause.

“But when it comes to flavors in non-combustible products like electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-cigarettes we recognize the issue involves additional considerations. Here, it’s possible for flavors to do both harm and good.”

But the FDA Chief doesn’t stop there.  He continues by claiming that vaping among children is on the rise while further implying that e-cigs are a gateway to smoking addiction.  Meanwhile, vaping advocates cite numerous scientific studies that not only refute this assertion but prove the reserve to be true (one such study entitled E-cigarettes: Gateway or roadblock to cigarette smoking? is readily available on the Science Direct website). Gottlieb’s statement continues.

“The troubling reality is that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students, and flavors are identified as one of the top three reasons for use. Given these findings, we need to be wary of the role flavors play in attracting youth to initiate on any tobacco product that could lead to regular use – something we clearly want to avoid. No child should use any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. At the same time, we’re aware that certain flavors may help currently addicted adult smokers switch to potentially less harmful forms of nicotine-containing tobacco products.”

Gottlieb appears to be walking a very fine line.  It’s almost as if he has carefully chosen just the right words that will instill fear in the American vaping industry but without squashing their hopes entirely.  Perhaps he knows that his “multiyear roadmap” to wipe out smoking addiction in the U.S. is going to be filled with many obstacles, and he can’t afford to piss off everyone – vapers and smokers – right off the bat. 

Related Article:  5 Ways to save vaping and STOP an FDA flavor ban before it begins

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/let-the-games-begin-fda-officially-launches-vaping-flavors-probe


Harvard study: It’s the chemicals in cigarettes that kills, not the nicotine

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been all over the news this week promoting a formal notice of proposed rulemaking regarding maximum nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes.  According to Gottlieb, if the FDA can reduce the levels of addictive nicotine in cigarettes, then hopefully millions of smokers will somehow magically quit.

There are several problems with this argument.  First, there are hundreds of studies conducted by very reputable scientists well before the notion of vaping ever entered mainstream consciousness that state unequivocally that being addicted to nicotine is not really all that harmful.  In fact, Dr. Drew Pinsky of MTV fame once said the very same thing on an episode of The Adam Carolla Show.

“Vaping is not tobacco.  There’s nothing wrong with the nicotine, which is what you’re addicted to.  It’s the tobacco that causes all the F-ing damage.  So, you’ve got to get off the tobacco.  You can sure stay on the nicotine.  Find a nicotine replacement. Use a vape. Whatever, and then try to taper down from there….but if you can’t, stay with…anything but tobacco.”

Related Article:  Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla recommend vaping to caller; discuss ‘A Billion Lives’

Of course, Dr. Drew may not be the most reputable person to listen to.  For those who prefer a more conventional source, look to a recent nicotine study conducted by scientists from Harvard University.  The study entitled A study of pyrazines in cigarettes and how additives might be used to enhance tobacco addiction is published in BMJ Tobacco Control.   

Overview of the Harvard Nicotine Study

Combustible cigarettes are not made from only tobacco leaves. Manufacturers intentionally place lots of additional chemicals and other substances inside them, too.  Some of these chemicals are preservatives for the tobacco while others are intentionally designed to keep the smoker hooked.  These needless yet addictive elements are called pyrazines.


The Harvard team wanted to prove once and for all that it’s these pyrazines that keep smokers addicted – not the nicotine –  which later causes cancer and other deadly diseases.  After piling through volumes of research regarding the toxicities of combustible tobacco products dating back 25 years and longer, the researchers came to the following conclusion.

“Cigarette additives and ingredients with chemosensory effects that promote addiction by acting synergistically with nicotine, increasing product appeal, easing smoking initiation, discouraging cessation or promoting relapse should be regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Current models of tobacco abuse liability could be revised to include more explicit roles with regard to non-nicotine constituents that enhance abuse potential.”

FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb apparently agrees.  In a recent interview last Friday on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Gottlieb stated that “it’s combustible cigarettes that are the problem,” not the nicotine.  After all, Gottlieb’s agency has already issued numerous FDA approvals over the years to manufacturers of nicotine gums, patches, and lozenges.

So, why does he want to place new limits on nicotine levels again?  Shouldn’t he be targeting the addictive pyrazines and other needless chemicals in combustible cigarettes instead?  Currently Gottlieb is asking for guidance from public health officials and tobacco control experts on how best to roll out the new regulations.  Hopefully, one of them will instruct Dr. Gottlieb that he is targeting the wrong ingredients.


from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/harvard-study-it-s-the-chemicals-in-cigarettes-that-kills-not-the-nicotine

‘It’s combustible cigarettes (not e-cigs) that are the problem,’ says FDA’s Gottlieb on CNBC


FDA wants to cap nicotine levels in cigarettes from CNBC.

Many consider FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to be a friend of the vaping community, but there seems to be a definitive limit to just how much political cover he is willing to give.  In an interview last Friday on CNBC Squawk Box, Gottlieb predominately took aim at Big Tobacco, but he also issued a sort of masked warning to American vapers.  The use of electronic cigarettes by children is a “big concern.”

Gottlieb was taking to the mainstream media talk shows largely because of the FDA release on the Thursday prior regarding a “formal notice of proposed rulemaking” related to the soon-to-be-implemented maximum levels of nicotine in combustible cigarettes.  The agency is essentially asking for guidance from public health officials and tobacco control experts on how best to roll out the new changes.

What should the new maximum levels be?  And should the new nicotine limitations be implemented all at once or incrementally? 

“It’s really the first step in the rule-making process to try to pursue regulations that will ultimately lead to a reduction in nicotine levels in cigarettes,” said Gottlieb during his CNBC Squawk Box interview.

Currently, the proposed nicotine regulations seem to be largely targeted at combustible cigarettes, but e-cigs will likely be thrown into the mix, as well.  After all, the FDA deeming regulations now officially classify electronic cigarettes and e-liquids as “tobacco products” even though e-cigs are 100% tobacco-free.

Stop selling e-cigs to kids, or else!

While most of the interview was focused on the negative health risks associated with combustible tobacco, Gottlieb also made some rather positive comments about electronic cigarettes.  While he did not say outright that vaping can be marketed as a smoking cessation product like FDA-approved nicotine gums and lozenges, he did praise e-cigs for their health benefits regarding tobacco harm reduction.

“We’re looking to try to transition smokers to modified risk products, less harmful products.  We see a lot of potential from new product innovation that’s coming on the market including electronic cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems.  It might be modified risk ways to receive nicotine if you’re an adult who still wants to get access to satisfying levels of nicotine.  And so by regulating the nicotine content in combustible cigarettes, we think we can more quickly migrate smokers off of combustible tobacco onto modified risk products, or preferable to encourage them to quit altogether.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Diseased Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2 million American high school and middle school students engaged in e-cigarette use at some point in 2016.  The statistics do not differentiate between kids who were daily vapers and those who may have just experimented with an e-cig once or twice out of peer pressure.   However, it seems clear that Gottlieb received the same CDC memo because he also issued the following, rather ominous statement.

“If all we end up doing is addicting a whole new generation on nicotine through e-cigarettes, then we will have done a bad service to this country.”

It’s almost as if Gottlieb is issuing a thinly veiled warning to the American vaping industry.  Stop selling to kids, or else!

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/it-s-combustible-cigarettes-not-e-cigs-that-are-the-problem-says-fda-s-gottlieb-on-cnbc

Regardless of e-liquid flavor, vaping ‘does not affect lung surfactant,’ says new e-cig study

There have been any recent vaping studies which suggest switching to vaping from combustible cigarettes may help to repair lung damage commonly found in asthma patients.  New research conducted by scientists from an American university now indicates that vaping alone causes no measurable damage to lung surfactant.  Smoking, on the other hand, is immediately and highly toxic on many different levels, even after smoking a single cigarette.

Lung surfactant is a thin coating of mucus-like substance which protects the interior lining of the lungs from surface tension caused by the body’s alveolar fluid.  Surfactant makes breathing less laborious.  However, for those who suffer from medical disorders which negatively affect the production of lung surfactant, many respiratory disorders can soon develop.  Common examples might include emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma.

The Ohio University vaping study  

The Ohio University study entitled Electronic cigarette vapor alters the lateral structure but not tensiometric properties of calf lung surfactant is published in BMC Respiratory Research.  Through a series of extensive laboratory experiments where the researchers substituted calf lungs for the human variety, scientists from Ohio University in Athens exposed the surfactant to both the vapor from e-cigs and the smoke from combustible cigarettes.  All the while, they were monitoring, measuring, and comparing the varying levels of surface tension being applied to the surfactant and the lungs themselves.

In the past, authors of studies involving measurable respiratory effects of vaping compared to smoking usually qualify their findings by claiming that “results will vary depending on the vaping device and e-liquids being used,” or something to that effect.  Most previous studies in this field also conclude that the very small particles of e-cig vapor do indeed travel deep into the lung cavity just like cigarette smoke.  The question has always been which is more toxic: vaping or smoking.

Related Article:  Replication study: Flavored e-cig aldehyde emissions are ‘589-fold lower’ than ACS claims

Furthermore, social media has been abuzz lately with news stories claiming that certain vaping flavors are more toxic than others.  One report even mentions the specific e-liquid flavors of coffee, watermelon, and blueberry as being over 10,000 times more toxic than the more common tobacco flavorings, for example.

The Ohio University scientists wanted to lay all of these “flavor fears” to rest once and for all.  So, they decided to expose the lung surfactant to e-cig vapor produced by lots of different flavors of e-liquid.  What they discovered is that the e-cig vapor – regardless of the flavoring or its nicotine levels- does not cause any measurable damage to the lung surfactant.

“E-cigarette vapor regardless of the dose and flavoring of the e-liquid did not affect surfactant interfacial properties. In contrast, smoke from conventional cigarettes had a drastic, dose-dependent effect on Infasurf®interfacial properties reducing the maximum surface pressure from 65.1 ± 0.2 mN/m to 46.1 ± 1.3 mN/m at the highest dose. Cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor both altered surfactant microstructure resulting in an increase in the area of lipid multilayers. Studies with individual smoke components revealed that tar was the smoke component most disruptive to surfactant function.”

The Ohio University scientists are also careful to state in their published report that vaping is likely not 100 percent safe.  But compared to smoking, the data is indisputable.  Compared to smoking, vaping is extremely more healthier and safer.

Their findings are further corroborated by a second e-cig study out of Italy which also focuses on vaping and respiratory function.  The Italian study entitled Health impact of E-cigarettes: a prospective 3.5-year study of regular daily users who have never smoked is located in the medical journal Nature.

Related Article:  Groundbreaking study shows ‘no deterioration in lung health’ after several years of vaping

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/regardless-of-e-liquid-flavor-vaping-does-not-affect-lung-surfactant-says-new-e-cig-study

Health official says banishing vaping to outdoor smoking areas ‘not acceptable’

When the FDA deeming regulations were first published, many vapers were surprised to learn that their e-liquids and vaping devices are now classified as tobacco products.  Sure, most vaping enthusiasts are not strangers to those sideways glances and turned-up noses from passersby when they begin puffing away on their favorite vape mod.  But the new deeming regulations seemed like government regulation gone amuck.

Shortly thereafter, government buildings and private employers began banishing vaping activities to the same outdoor areas designated for smokers.  Although not totally agreeing with the concept, many within the vaping community reluctantly relinquished their freedom to vape indoors without much of a fuss

After all, isn’t this a small price to pay?  Isn’t going outdoors to vape just proper vaping etiquette?

Not so, says at least one public health official from the Yorkshire Cancer Research Center in Great Britain.  Vapers have rights, too!

Designated outdoor smoking/vaping areas are harmful to public health

In a recent StrayFM interview with the center’s executive director, Dr. Kathryn Scott states that the smoking of combustible cigarettes is the leading cause of death in Yorkshire.  The agency estimates that more than 750,000 citizens are currently daily smokers in Yorkshire, whose total population is just slightly over five million people.  That’s about 14.3 percent of all Yorkshirians, and Dr. Scott believes that public health officials should be doing more to convince smokers to switch to vaping.

Related Article:  NASEM report offers ‘conclusive evidence’ that vaping is safer than smoking

In fact, she believes so strongly in vapers rights that she also says that forcing vapers to vape in the same areas as conventional smokers is bad for public health.  According to Scott, it’s all too easy for unwitting vapers to become tempted to relapse into a life of smoking.  Vaping should be made more convenient for the general public, not pushed to the sidelines or hidden away in dark, dismal corners.

“E-cigarette use is not covered by UK smoke-free laws, which prohibit smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces. Vaping is a different activity to smoking, and should be treated as such. It is not acceptable to require vapers to share the same outdoor space as smokers, or to ban e-cigarette use. This could undermine an attempt to quit or make it more difficult for people to stay smoke-free. Vaping should be made a more convenient, as well as a safer option.”

Dr. Scott also goes on to say that healthcare professionals must get it out of their heads that vaping and smoking are essentially the same thing.   She then quotes the 2015 study published by Public Health England which claims that vaping is 95 percent healthier than combustible tobacco.  Meanwhile, Scott also blasts the mainstream media for spreading Fake News about vaping.

“It is vital that healthcare professionals understand that vaping is an essential tool for improving the health of people living in our region. Negative coverage in the media has led to a misconception that vaping is dangerous, when the reality is that e-cigarettes have the potential to reduce the harm from tobacco caused to smokers, those around them and the wider society.”

In Yorkshire, England, public health officials estimate that more than 86 percent of lung cancer diagnoses, 37 percent of bladder cancers diagnoses, and 23 percent of liver cancers diagnoses can be directly attributed to smoking.  Of the estimated 250,000 Yorkshire vapers, 52 percent self-identify as former smokers.  Dr. Scott wants to see these numbers dramatically improve next year and every year thereafter.  

Related Article:  Smoking rates plummet to 10-year low, thanks partly to vaping, says UK

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/health-official-says-banishing-vaping-to-outdoor-smoking-areas-not-acceptable

Is there a double standard regarding legal marijuana and vaping?

There are currently thirty states and the District of Columbia that legalize marijuana to some degree. Meanwhile, there are countless city governments considering legislation that will effectively ban the sales of vaping supplies and e-liquids in their metropolitan areas.  Isn’t this a double standard?  If smoking weed is now considered socially acceptable and perhaps even healthy, how on earth did vaping get such a bad reputation?

Both actions involve the heating or burning of a substance that transitions into a white plume of smoke or vapor.  In fact, pot enthusiasts can even use vaping devices to enjoy some of their favorite strains.  So, according to this line of logic, smoking marijuana through a good, old-fashioned joint for medicinal purposes is perfectly fine.  But if you choose to vape it instead, then you’re really in trouble!

Marijuana versus vaping: California’s Prop 56 and Prop 64

In November of 2016 while the world was watching to see if Hillary Clinton would be defeated by Donald Trump, politicians in California were eagerly at work trying to pass two different pieces of seemingly contradictory legislation.  The first was Prop 56, which essentially placed a $2.00 sin tax on all tobacco products (and electronic cigarettes) statewide after April 1, 2017.  FYI:  It passed.

The second was California Prop 64 which was also approved.  This piece of legislation effectively made the use of both medical and recreational marijuana legal for persons living in California over the age of 21.  Of course, the legislation also included certain sales and cultivation sin taxes– just like Prop 56.

Related Article:  California Prop 64 vs. Prop 56: TV commercials for weed and a huge e-cig tax

Are you beginning to see the double standard?  In one case, Prop 56 is essentially trying to discourage the use of vaping products by make them more expensive.  In the other case, Prop 64 is essentially encouraging the use of marijuana products by making them legal and more accessible.  The fact that weed consumers will pay a small pot tax is almost always forgotten.

Both products produce white plumes of a gaseous substance.  And both products are being taxed to great lengths by the California state government.   The only difference lies in the subliminal messaging behind the regulations.

While medical experts and public health officials around the world largely support the ideology that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking, the passage of California Prop 56 seems to send the opposite message.  Conversely, medical experts also largely brag about the many medicinal qualities of marijuana.  And, also conversely, the passage of California Prop 64 seems to support these claims.

Related Article:   Number of new jobs in Marijuana will surpass those for manufacturing by 2020

So, why the double standard? Perhaps it is simply a matter of money.

Perhaps the only way that local, state, and federal governments can tax the hell out of the vaping industry is to regulate it in the same way as the tobacco industry.  Even though vaping is healthier, politicians must demonize it and equate it to cigarette smoking if they want to reap the rewards of over-taxation.

Could this really be the primary reason for the mysterious double standard?  Is the world of politics really that cynical?

Related Article:  Legalized Marijuana: An unlikely mentor in the War on Vaping?

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/is-there-a-double-standard-regarding-legal-marijuana-and-vaping

CASAA urges vapers: Tell Congress to support Cole-Bishop by March 22

March 22 is a crucial deadline for what many vapers have come to know as the Cole-Bishop Amendment. Otherwise known as HR 1136, this proposed piece of legislation will effectively change the predicate date of the FDA deeming regulations from February 15, 2007 to August 8, 2016 should the bill pass congressional approval.

According to the current rules, any retailer or manufacturer of any vaping product placed on the market after February 15, 2007 will be forced to comply with the ultra-expensive Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA).  Each PMTA can potentially cost the vendor a million dollars or more per product.  Since the majority of vaping companies are small businesses, some economists estimate that nearly 99 percent of the American vaping industry is under threat of being regulated into bankruptcy by the FDA by the year 2022.

Why is March 22 so important?

March 22 just happens to be the cutoff date for Congress to finalize its two-year spending package.  If the vaping industry wants to get a little financial support from Congress, then we only have a few days to convince, coerce, or cajole our local officials to cough up the loot.

Since this seems unlikely, an alternative solution would be to urge our state representatives and senators to simply pass the Cole-Bishop Amendment instead.  In doing so, the Appropriations Committee would be forced to change the predicate date in the 2018 budget automatically.

CASAA leads the way!

There are lots of different ways to connect with our elected officials.  Thanks to the Internet, vapers can send tweets, write emails, or even call the White House with the click of a mouse.  But if you want to contact lots of different politicians at the same time, CASAA shows you how.

Simply travel to the CASAA Call to Action webpage, type in your name and address, and the email addresses of your local congressperson and two state senators will automatically appear in a pre-written, CASAA-created message.  The email will state the following, but you can also edit it or add to it, if you like.

“Dear Official,
Please support the inclusion of Section 753 (aka the Cole-Bishop Amendment) in the House Agricultural Appropriations Bill in the final appropriations package for the 2018 US budget. This provision would modernize the 2007 predicate date that vapor products will be subject to once the FDA deeming rule takes full effect in 2022. If the predicate date is not changed, nearly all vapor products will be taken off the market as no one except a few large companies can afford the premarket application process.
Opponents to a predicate date change — many of whom were instrumental in creating the original grandfather date that protected tobacco companies from certain collapse — claim that changing the predicate date will take away FDA’s ability to regulate e-cigarettes, but that is simply not true. This will not impact the FDA’s current authority to regulate these products, nor will it prevent the agency from implementing useful guidelines and regulations in the future.
The Cole-Bishop amendment makes a reasonable accommodation for products newly deemed to be tobacco to serve as predicate products based on the date they are brought under FDA’s jurisdiction. This simple clarification of FDA’s authority will allow millions of consumers continued access to a less harmful alternative to combustible tobacco and ensure that thousands of small businesses across the country will be able to continue to contribute to the economy.
As a vapor products consumer, it is vitally important to me that the diversity of quality products currently on the market is maintained. Millions of Americans like me have experienced remarkable and important health benefits by switching to these very low-risk, smoke-free products. (You can read thousands of testimonials here: testimonials.casaa.org.) It should be a public health priority that millions more have access to the same experience.
I look forward to your response on this issue. I, along with my fellow members of CASAA (Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association), thank you for considering these comments and urge you to support including a provision to modernize the predicate date for vapor products in the final 2018 appropriations bill.”

Way to go, CASAA!  Getting involved in the War on Vaping has never been easier.  We urge all of our readers to travel to the CASAA Call to Action page and contact your elected officials.  The entire process only takes about 5-seconds!  Please urge Congress to support the Cole-Bishop Amendment.  March 22 may be our last chance!

Related Article:  EMERGENCY! Take action NOW! Congress debate over Cole-Bishop Amendment Is TODAY!

from VAPES – News https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/casaa-urges-vapers-tell-congress-to-support-cole-bishop-by-march-22