Posts tagged with "E-cigarettes"

Amid U.S. vaping clampdown, Juul enters China, the world’s largest tobacco market

September 13, 2019

Holy smokes! No sooner did U.S. e-cigarette maker Juul Labs come under scrutiny for its flavored products at home than it surfaced in China, Reuters reports—with online storefronts on e-commerce sites owned by Alibaba Group and JD.com, geared to tap into the world’s largest market of smokers.

Following a press conference on September 11, during which President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump voiced concern about the health effects of vaping—noting that their 13-year-old son, Barron, is in the age group most likely to be captivated by the tasty, new smokes—the U.S. government announced plans to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from store shelves.

Juul, in which tobacco giant Altria Group owns a 35% stake, has been launching its products in international markets such as South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Reuters says.

The move comes as U.S. health officials are investigating a handful of deaths and potentially hundreds of lung illnesses tied to contaminants in vaping products—among them, E acetate, THC, cutting agents/diluents, pesticides, opioids and other toxins.

China, which is the world’s largest single market for tobacco consumption with over 300 million smokers, represents a market with both opportunity and risk for the company.

It is already home to dozens of Chinese competitors with names such as Relx, Yooz, and SNOW+ that have taken tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding from high-profile investors.

Research source: @Reuters

Michigan is first U.S. state to ban flavored e-cigarettes

September 5, 2019

Just a couple of weeks following the first U.S. death to be officially attributed to vaping, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat, has announced her decision to institute a statewide prohibition on all flavored electronic cigarettes, including the sweet, fruity, and menthol varieties.

The ban is due to go into effect today, but retailers will have 30 days to comply, according to a report by The Huffington Post.

Michigan, thus, becomes the first state to prohibit flavored e-cigarettes, which preliminary studies have shown are more likely to get young people hooked on vaping, according to The Washington Post.

 “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan,” Whitmer told the DC-based newspaper of misleading descriptions like “safe” and “healthy” to advertise vaping products.

Whitmer noted that she’d been compelled to take action after the state Department of Health and Human Services declared vaping among young people a public health emergency.

And it’s not the only one to do so.

On Friday, August 23, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported the death of an individual who had recently vaped and had been hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness. A total of 22 people, ranging in age from 17 to 38, have so far been diagnosed with the illness and IDPH officials are working with local health departments to investigate 12 more individuals. The Illinois department has requested help from the Centers for Disease control to track and address the disease.

Several U.S. cities also have taken steps in recent months to place limits on vaping.  San Francisco in June became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of all e-cigarettes. Last week, Boulder, Colorado, finalized a ban on flavored e-cigarette products. Sacramento, California, has also approved a similar ban.

In March, The HuffPost reports, the Food and Drug Administration proposed restricting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, except for menthol, mint and tobacco flavors. The FDA proposal has not been finalized.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Beer here?

January 21, 2019

What will fans drink at baseball games next summer? Something tells us that fraternity boys are still buying kegs—but overall, Americans are increasingly laying off the booze; especially, the beer.

In response to the growing trend toward nonalcoholic drinks, the world’s biggest brewers and liquor companies are innovating beyond their traditional inventory and rolling out teas, energy drinks, and nonalcoholic spirits, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the Journal, new data show that U.S. alcohol volumes dropped 0.8% last year, slightly up from the 0.7% decline in 2017. Beer got hit the hardest, with volumes down 1.5% in 2018, compared with a 1.1% decline in 2017. Growth in wine and spirits slowed, as well, according to data compiled for the news outlet by drinks market analyst IWSR.

The fall in alcohol volumes reflects “a growing trend toward mindful drinking or complete abstinence, particularly among the Millennial cohort,” Brandy Rand, president of IWSR’s U.S. Region told the newspaper. Wine grew by 0.4%, down from 1% the year before; while spirits climbed 1.9%, compared with 2.2% in 2017. IWSR’s figures are based on products shipped.

And speaking of Millennials, could alcohol (and weed) vaping be a factor? While The Wall Street Journal doesn’t cover this game-changer in its report, the vaping industry is now a multi-billion dollar business, with teens and Millennials among the fastest-growing groups of users.  According to recent research by the FDA, over 1.3 million youths are vaping. 2017 saw the largest spike of any substance use in the United States in the past 50 years. E-cigarettes are now at epidemic level of use in the United States.  

In response to the changing marketplace and the growing disinterest in alcoholic drinks, producers are beginning to diversify:  Molson Coors Brewinghas turned to kombucha, Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev  sells a spiked coconut water, and Smirnoff maker Diageo wants teetotalers to start mixing cocktails with a pricey, alcohol-free gin alternative, says the Journal.

IWSR forecasts low- and no-alcohol products in the U.S.—still a small slice of the market—to grow 32.1% between 2018 and 2022, triple the category’s growth over the past five years.

Industry executives say drinkers are increasingly concerned about health and that younger generations socialize differently from their parents, drinking less.

“Twenty years ago we didn’t have coffee shops open late, and pubs and bars open for coffee,” Ben Branson, CEO of nonalcoholic distilled spirit maker Seedlip (which is part owned by Diageo) told the news outlet. “People are favoring experiences over ‘let’s go drink on a night out.’”

AB InBev last year created a new global position, head of nonalcoholic beverages, to lead its efforts to diversify. Nonalcoholic drinks—including energy drinks and nonalcoholic beers—already make up more than 10% of the Bud brewer’s volumes. In 2017, it acquired San Francisco-based Hiball, a producer of organic energy drinks.

What’s more, says the Journal, AB InBev recently began selling Budweiser Prohibition brew—a nonalcoholic version of its flagship beer—in Columbus and Detroit. Nonalcoholic beer volumes nationwide. are expected to climb 9.3% over the next five years, according to research firm Euromonitor.

The beer company also has stepped up its efforts to woo consumers defecting to wine and cocktails. Its craft-style breweries in Oregon, California and New York have served as incubators for new, boozy versions of coconut water, matcha tea and agua fresca, a Mexican fruit-juice drink. And the brewer plans to later this month launch a spiked seltzer brand, Bon & Viv, which it will advertise alongside its beers at the Super Bowl.

“People are looking for something that tastes good but also allows them to live well,” Chelsea Phillips, head of marketing for AB InBev’s Beyond Beer division in the U.S., said in an interview with the Journal.

Research contact: saabira.chaudhuri@wsj.com

Vaping companies offer college scholarships to high school students

June 11, 2018

Just five years ago, nearly three times as many U.S. high school students smoked as puffed on e-cigarettes. Today, almost twice as many secondary school kids vape as smoke, based on findings of a National Youth Tobacco Survey released by the Office of Smoking and Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That amounts to one in every four high school students and more than one in every 14 middle school kids who have been hooked on nicotine by e-cigarettes, according to a report by Science News for Students. It is not a risk-free practice. In fact Irfan Rahman, a professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester in New York says that, while vape pens—including the Juuls and KandyPens that are trending with teens—are far less dangerous than conventional butts, not only will they ruin a user’s gums and loosen his or her teeth, but studies suggest that kids who vape are more likely to smoke real cigarettes in the future.

According to Rahman, “The liquid and vapor that vape users inhale (and exhale onto others) contain harmful chemicals such as anti-freeze, a host of carcinogens, and other substances known to cause cell death. Meanwhile, the concentrated nicotine in vaping solutions poses a unique, toxic threat to small children who unintentionally swallow the liquid or spill it on their skin. In a word, e-cigarettes aren’t safe for your kids and aren’t safe around your kids.”

Rahman emphasizes that even flavored vapes can be harmful to the lungs. ““Nicotine-free e-liquids have generally been considered safe; however, the impact of flavoring chemicals, especially on immune cells, has not been widely researched  Even though flavoring compounds are considered safe for ingestion, it is not safe for inhalation.”

Scholarships sweeten the success of vaping

The data show that an estimated 16% of high school kids vaped in 2015. That adds up to 2.39 million teens. By comparison, just 1.37 million high school kids smoked cigarettes. And the number of vapers is increasing—partially because of a new marketing campaign launched by the companies that sell e-cigarettes and vaporizers. Their latest tactic: Offering college scholarships and getting students to write essays about the joys and benefits of vaping, in contrast to cigaretttes, in order to win the money.

News of the grants is spreading quickly online—posted at such websites as DaVinci Vaporizer, Slick Vapes, and SmokeTastic For example, SmokeTastic says on its site, “Under the ST Scholarship Program, we shall be awarding one scholarship award of $1000 to the winning candidate which will be determined by our judges and possibly published on our site. Our scholarship is aimed at helping all students, from all walks of life, afford the rising costs in education fees, books, and living costs. The scholarship will be made payable directly to the university/school that the winners are from by cheque.

Eligibility is no problem, the company says: “We are open to any current college-going student, including incoming freshman enrolled in any educational program to apply. We do ask however, students must be enrolled at an accredited college, university or trade school. No major or trade requirements. We have opened the scholarship up to students to apply from all countries. We do also ask that the students have a minimum GPA of 2.5.”

And under “Details of the Essay,” SmokeTastic tells students to submit an essay of 500 to 1,500 words, talking about such subjects as:

  • Why do people still choose to smoke in society?
  • Is vaping a new problem with younger smokers and potentially introducing them to smoking?
  • Would a smoke-free world really improve society?
  • What message do you have for current smokers thinking about vaping?
  • Is vaping addiction a real concern?

Although some of the scholarships are limited to students 18 and older—the nation’s legal age to buy vaping products—many are open to younger teens or have no age limit.

Research contact: Irfan_rahman@urmc.rochester.edu