Tobacco Control Groups Target JUUL Electronic Cigarettes
Jim McDonald, a senior writer at Vaping360.com, released an article today citing recent events regarding tobacco control organizations and the JUUL Electronic Cigarette Company.
A letter, sent by a coalition of anti-tobacco associations on April 18th, urged Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the FDA, to "take immediate action to protect the nation's young people, and the public health, from the dramatic rise in teen usage of Juul electronic cigarettes."
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Truth Initiative, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association, "Juuling" presents a clear and immediate threat to the well-being of today's youth.
McDonald was quick to point out inconsistencies present in the coalition's collective logic. For instance, looking at the data from a study conducted by the Truth Initiative that was published today, he argues that the Truth Initiative's claims about "public health epidemics" regarding the JUUL are ill-concieved.
McDonald's article, "JUUL Threatened by Powerful Groups in Washington," reads:
"The study showed that just 25 percent of 1,012 surveyed 15 to 24-year-olds even recognized a JUUL, and just ten percent had used one (including just one puff ever). Among 15 to 17-year-olds, 21 percent recognized the device. The study also showed that of the 25 percent that recognized the device, only 25 percent of those (63 people) said that people their age use the word “juuling” to describe the use of a JUUL. That’s just 6.3 percent of the total sample group — which seems very low for a product they claim is experiencing 'skyrocketing popularity' among teens."
Basic recognition of the JUUL device is obviously a far cry from its utilization, and the data presented in the study clearly underwhelms when a tag like "public health epidemic" precedes it.
Here are some facts that are actually staggering:
1. Youth smoking is at its lowest recorded level, with 4.2 percent of high school seniors smoking daily, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
2. This study represents an 80% percent decline in youth smoking from 1997.
3. The FDA Center for Tobacco Products (a regulatory agency focused on minimizing nationwide tobacco use) is fully funded by big tobacco user fees.
THE REAL ISSUE
The clear and immediate threat posed by the JUUL Electronic Cigarette Company is not directed toward our nation's youth, but toward big tobacco companies and the control organizations that rely on the success of those companies to survive.
The campaign against JUUL electronic cigarettes, and other forms of vaping in general, are emboldened by targeted funds supplied by Big Tobacco. Purports that vaping and electronic cigarettes are directly linked to health crises are forms of a red herring fallacy, directing conversation toward vaping's marginal effect on youth rather than their more obvious benefits to the health of the nation as a whole.
Also, the rate of teenage vaping is not positively correlated with teenage smoking, as some would have you believe. Per the data, the opposite effect is taking place.
One longtime tobacco control leader, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, can be seen in these troubling times as "a rare voice of sanity." In a statement issued publicly, Miller states, "the current estimate for adult smoking prevalence for 2017 is 14.1 percent. This is the lowest ever recorded and is dropping at an accelerated rate. The most plausible explanation for at least part of this dramatic decline is smokers switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, including JUUL."
On August 19th, 2015, a government-funded United Kingdom study concluded that e-cigarettes are "around 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes." That study can be found HERE.
What we are faced with, then, is a dilemma of actionable change. I am not reporting that vaping is healthy. I am not even reporting that people should do it. But I am reporting that for control agencies who have spent decades fighting the prevalence of cigarette usage in the United States, the JUUL and other devices like it should be heralded with sweet cries of joy.
We cannot get rid of cigarettes by banning or forcefully limiting the marketing of products that help reduce smoking nationwide. Vaping is a step in the right direction toward legitimately eliminating cigarette consumption. The FDA and tobacco control agencies know this.
Thanks for reading.
Head of Content Development