As smokers spark up e-cigs to quit, traditional aids suffer

admin   •   January 29, 2015   •   2254

Luna, an electronic cigarette vaporizer, and its components are seen at Thermo-Essence Technologies in San Carlos, California May 2, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/STEPHEN LAM

(Reuters) – When Marty Weinstein decided to quit smoking, he took a friend’s advice and tried electronic cigarettes rather than government-approved nicotine replacement products.

Weinstein, 58, has gone from a pack a day nine months ago to the equivalent in nicotine of four or five cigarettes. The e-cigs have a familiar look and feel, and quench his desire to hold on to a cigarette and puff.

“I fully understand I’m still addicted to nicotine,” said Weinstein, a Connecticut taxi driver who had smoked for more than 20 years. “But I’m now so much healthier.”

E-cigarettes, metal tubes that heat liquids typically laced with nicotine and deliver vapor when sucked, are transforming the market for smoking cessation products and slowing the $2.4 billion in global sales of long-standing aids such as nicotine patches and gums. But their impact on health remains unclear, experts say, raising difficult questions for regulators who are starting to impose limits on e-cigarette use.

E-cigarette makers in the United States are barred from explicitly marketing the products as smoking cessation devices, but have found ways to appeal legally to smokers who are thinking of quitting.

“You never say ‘quit’ because it’s not approved by the FDA as a smoking cessation device,” said Jose Castro, the chief executive of A1 Vapors in Miami, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A1 Vapors runs an ad on its website urging customers to “kiss tobacco goodbye” and give themselves the “gift of your life. literally”, adding a disclaimer that e-cigs are not a smoking cessation product.

E-cigarettes, or e-cigs, have only come into widespread use in the past few years, but have already made inroads into traditional quitting therapies.

About a third of British smokers trying to quit were using e-cigarettes, according to a University College London survey in January of 1,800 people, including 450 smokers.

E-cigs are used by almost twice as many people as government-approved nicotine gums, lozenges and patches, according to the survey. That was a reversal from 2011, when only about 5 percent of people were using e-cigarettes and more than 30 percent used over-the-counter products.

Similar data is not yet publicly available for the United States.

Worldwide sales of all nicotine replacement therapies grew just 1.2 percent last year, to almost $2.4 billion, according to data from commercial researcher Euromonitor. U.S. sales, at $900 million, grew 0.2 percent, and are expected by Euromonitor to drop this year by that amount.

Big tobacco companies like Altria, Lorillard and Reynolds American have rushed into the e-cig market. The entire U.S. market for “vapor devices” such as e-cigs grew in 2014 by 40-50 percent to $2.5 billion to $3 billion, Euromonitor said. The global market is worth $5 billion.

RULES ON E-CIGS TIGHTENING

Mark Strobel, a consumer health analyst at Euromonitor, said e-cigarettes have slowed nicotine replacement therapy sales, along with relatively high prices and a shrinking population of smokers, especially in the United States.

“For some consumers it has been a direct substitution.”

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Johnson & Johnson don’t break out the data on their smoking cessation products, which are relatively small parts of their sales, but the companies have noted the change.

“It’s definitely taken a bit of our market, no question at all – but there’s a lot of competition in that space,” GSK chief executive Andrew Witty told Reuters in an interview this month.

GSK’s nicotine replacement therapies and smoking cessation products include the brands Nicorette, NicoDermCQ and the medicine Zyban.

There is little long-term safety data on e-cigarettes, although some healthcare professionals say they may be better for consumers than tobacco cigarettes because they have no carbon monoxide and fewer cancer-causing chemicals.

A growing number of states, cities and countries – including Israel and Australia – are considering or have approved legislation to ban or limit the devices or the liquids, which come in exotic flavors from bacon to bubble gum.

California’s top public health official on Wednesday slammed e-cigs as addictive, saying they were leading to nicotine poisoning among children and threatened to unravel the state’s decades-long effort to reduce tobacco use.

Earlier this week, California introduced a bill that would ban the devices in public places, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a similar ban earlier this month.

Last year, the World Health Organization recommended that smokers should be encouraged to try already approved treatments rather than e-cigarettes. The FDA last April proposed rules for electronic cigarettes that would, among other things, ban sales to those under 18, but not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising.

MAKING SMOKING COOL AGAIN?

Many health experts worry that e-cigarettes will become established as smoking cessation aids before enough research is done to determine their health impact. Another concern is that they may stop people from quitting tobacco completely and deter people from trying potentially more effective methods.

Dr. Albert Rizzo, senior medical advisor for the American Lung Association, said that when patients ask about the products, he tells them it’s good that they are trying to quit but: “We don’t know enough to recommend them.”

Some healthcare professionals said that even if they are not opposed to e-cigarettes, they are concerned about their marketing, especially to young people.

The Federal Trade Commission declined to comment on specific e-cig ads but said “advertising must be truthful, non-deceptive and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.”

E-cigs risk bringing the “cool” back to smoking, reversing the progress over decades in which smoking has become less socially acceptable, said Dr. Robert K. Jackler, a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.

“A lot of us are very concerned about the renormalization phenomenon,” he said. “These glamorize smoking behavior.”

Still, some doctors point to the low efficacy of traditional ways to quit smoking.

“They have better results than placebos, but their rates of success are quite low,” said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, who said e-cigarettes are an alternative, especially for people who have tried the conventional therapies and failed.

(Additional reporting by Kate C. Kelland and Ben Hirschler in London; editing by Peter Henderson and Stuart Grudgings)

US bans fruit, mint vaping cartridges to curb youth use

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020

Washington – The United States Food and Drug Administration on Thursday banned the sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes, including fruit and mint, in an attempt to reduce their use among children and youth.

The decision, in which companies have 30 days to cease manufacture, distribution and sales, aims to reduce the “troubling epidemic” among youth, although for some sectors it is seen as a step back from the original plan of the President Donald Trump administration to ban all flavors.

“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in the FDA statement.

On September 11 last year, Azar announced that the Trump administration planned to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes except tobacco after the first deaths linked to their use were made public.

At that time, Trump, in statements from the Oval Office with Azar and other officials, said that vaping is a problem that especially affects “innocent children.”

In October, Juul, the largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes in the US, announced it was suspending sales of most of its flavors in the country ahead of the ban, although it anticipated that it would continue to manufacture tobacco and menthol flavors.

The same month, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering allowing the sale of some flavors so as not to put at risk the re-election of Trump, whose campaign team has warned of the electoral impact that the plan to ban all flavored e-cigarettes would have amid possible job losses and voter backlash.

The report said Trump’s campaign chief Brad Parscale warned that the plan to reduce vaping among young people could hurt Trump in the 2020 election.

Groups working in the industry also created a pushback campaign called #IvapeIVote and #WeVapeWeVote.

In its statement, the FDA cited federal survey data to show that young people are particularly attracted to flavors such as fruit and mint, more so than to tobacco or menthol.

According to local media, 55 people have died across 27 states due to a lung illness linked to vaping. EFE-EPA

lb/tw

Duterte orders ban on vapes, EO to follow

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a ban on sale, importation and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vapes.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone who would be caught vaping in all public places across the country.

The President is convinced that vaping poses more harm to people than smoking ordinary cigarettes.

“Vaping is also dangerous and I am banning it, and if you are smoking now, you will be arrested,” he announced during the press briefing on Tuesday (November 19) in Malacañang.

“I am banning the importation. Customs, you listen to it. I’m banning it altogether,” he added.

The President said he will issue an executive order to formalize his directive.

The Chief Executive’s announcement came after a recent report of the first e-cigarette vaping-associated lung injury (e-VALI) in the country.

“I have that urgent power to do it, so I’m ordering it,” he said.

“The EO will follow. I’m banning it because it’s contrary to public safety,” the President concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

California sues Juul, largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2019

A sign advertises Juul pods, used for vaping in e-cigarettes, outside of a store in New York, New York, USA, 13 September 2019. The United States’ Food and Drug Administration announced this week a developing plan that is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks that would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

San Francisco – The state of California on Monday filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc., the largest US manufacturer of e-cigarettes, alleging that the firm targeted young people and teenagers with its advertising despite the fact that sales of its products are prohibited to people under age 21.

“We’ve worked too hard, committed our hard-earned money for too long combating harmful tobacco use to stand idly by as we now lose Californians to vaping and nicotine addiction,” state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said at a news conference in Los Angeles.

“Juul adopted the tobacco industry’s infamous playbook, employing advertisements that had no regard for public health and searching out vulnerable targets,” he added.

The complaint was presented jointly by the California state government, the city and county of Los Angeles, and in it the plaintiffs claim that, besides targeting young people with its advertising, the firm did not warn the public about the fact that its products expose users to potentially dangerous chemicals and to the risk of cancer, birth defects and reproductive damage.

In addition, according to the plaintiffs, Juul did not verify the age of consumers of its products and violated privacy laws of minors by saving their e-mail addresses and using them to send those people more ads.

Specifically, the lawsuit says that the e-cigarette manufacturer publicized its mango, mint, cream and pepper flavors, which are especially popular among teens.

E-cigarettes are facing increasing restrictions in the US, with prohibitions on the local and state level and the threat by President Donald Trump to prohibit marketing the products on the national level.

Last week, the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report in which it raised to 42 the death toll for people who have died from lung damage caused by consumption of electronic cigarettes, along with more than 2,000 cases of non-lethal lung damage.

Vaping among teens has been steadily increasing despite efforts by health officials to limit it, with more than 25 percent of US high school students using e-cigarettes, according to recent figures from the CDC. EFE-EPA

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