Vaping Influencers Called Out by US FDA

By Vape Contributor
on June 15, 2019

Vaping Influencers Called Out by US FDA

A week ago, on June 7, 2019 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to several vaping companies for their marketing programs. They targeted primarily social influencers and their sponsored posts that did not contain mandatory warnings. The posts were on popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The specific companies that received warnings included Solace Technologies LLC (doing business as Solace Vapor), Hype City Vapors LLC, Humble Juice Co. LLC and Artist Liquids Laboratories LLC (doing business as Artist Liquid Labs).

The FDA moved to discipline vaping companies for inappropriately promoting their products to those individuals that are underage. They determined that the e-liquid products were advertised without the proper warnings reading, “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical,” a requirement that the FDA has enforced since August 10, 2018.

Ironically, Facebook, YouTube and most popular social media sites do not allow companies to “promote” posts or pay for paid advertising; therefore, most vaping companies rely on influencers and other tactics to reach new customers. However, with this further scrutiny vaping companies will need to take additional precautions to ensure they are following proper guidance from the FDA within the United States.

As most people have heard, the FDA is continuing to combat what they have described as an epidemic of underage vaping use. Many studies have been reported to link social media advertising to the surge of vaping among teens as many companies used paid influencers and social media posts to promote their products. Some of these studies reported that there was an 80% jump in vaping among teens last year.

Even though e-cigarettes are becoming more and more recognized for their health benefits, especially compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes there is still a lot of health experts that aren’t jumping on the bandwagon. Health experts primarily point to studies that indicate that nicotine consumed by minors impacts the development of their brains. Furthermore, many politicians and health experts claim that teenagers don’t even realize that popular vaping products contain nicotine.

Moving forward, in the industry, it’s important companies are more vigilant in controlling their advertising and marketing policies. It’s likely that you’ll end up seeing less online marketing as companies fear further complications with the FDA or even financial penalties. Some vaping companies have already cancelled their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

California Legislation Attempting to Ban Flavored Vape Juice

By Cali Steam Blogger
on May 23, 2019

California Legislation Attempting to Ban Flavored Vape Juice

Today, May 23, 2019, the California Senate shelved a bill named SB 38, which would ban the sale of vapor and smoke-free tobacco products in flavors other than tobacco.

The California bill intends to ban flavored tobacco products, aimed at reducing the use of electronic cigarettes by minors, was shelved Thursday after the author said it had been watered down so much with exemptions that it was now opposed by public health groups.

Under intense lobbying from the tobacco industry, a Senate panel amended SB 38 against the wishes of its author to exempt hookah products and some flavors that are commonly used in cigars and pipes.

Although this legislation is currently shelved the authors of the bill intend to introduce a new bill that'll be more limited in it's scope to reduce the "epidemic" of teen vaping. So it's certainly not the last time we'll hear about legislation in the state that invented modern day vaping.

We urge our California customers to be engaged and reach out to their state representatives to have their voices heard.

You can research your local contacts on the California.gov website and call, text or email them your thoughts on vaping. Briefly, share your story about switching to vaping and be sure to note any health changes you’ve experienced.

Additionally, you can mention flavors are an important aspect of vapor products as they help former smokers disassociate nicotine consumption from inhaling smoke and the taste of tobacco. Prohibiting flavor options creates a barrier to becoming smoke free and, as a result, many adults will actually be encouraged to continue smoking instead of making the switch to a product that is estimated to be 99% less hazardous than smoking.

Lastly, you can reiterate that sales of flavored smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products should not be restricted to adult-only or specialty retailers. It is important that smokers are exposed to safer alternatives in retail environments where they normally purchase cigarettes.

Is vaping like riding a bicycle with a helmet?

By Vape Contributor
on May 08, 2019

Is vaping like riding a bicycle with a helmet?

The impact of smoking on health is huge, obviously. Half of all lifelong smokers die early because of the habit basically losing 3 months of life expectancy for every year they smoke after the age of 35. Also, most would agree the habit is both physically and psychologically addictive. Vaping has now come along and tries to help people quit smoking; however, the jury might still be out, but Public Health England claims that vaping may be contributing to at least 20,000 smokers quitting every year.

Vaping clearly has its critics (Google vaping news and you’ll 90% of the critics). Medical professionals seem reluctant to encourage smokers to make the switch to vaping despite research from the likes of Cardiff University who showed that vaping does not act as a gateway back to tobacco, nor does it normalize smoking among youth. Similarly, the Royal College of Physicians actually announced these findings back in 2016, and now, Embarrassing Bodies' Doctor Christian Jessen has put his name to a campaign calling on fellow doctors to heed this advice and support their patients to switch from smoking to vaping (what a great idea).

There is a growing list of evidence which shows vaping can reduce smoking related harm and yet despite that, more than half of hospitals across Europe ban vaping on their grounds and the majority US hospitals ban it completely. It’s time we were consistent and gave clear advice to smokers to help combat the misinformation they are all too often bombarded with, about vaping.

A study commissioned by the UK Vaping Industry Association, and the widest to date into the health, financial and social benefits of vaping, found that vapers make an average saving of £346 a year compared to when they were smoking, which could equate to an annual nationwide saving of almost £1.1bn. Plus, the long term impact of vaping might be unknown, but is "likely to be very small, and is substantially smaller than that the implications of smoking," according to the RCP. In fact, the available data suggest the risks are unlikely to exceed 5% compared to the risks of smoking cigarettes and the actual figure may even be lower.

Vaping has already proven itself as a great way for people to quit smoking and for that reason alone we should encourage the habit. We all recognize that this doesn’t help the addition to nicotine but let’s try to reduce the risks that come with traditional cigarettes. This is very similar to our love for riding bicycles that we’d never say is harmful to us but we’d always encourage riders to wear a bicycle helmet to reduce the risk of injury. In similar fashion, we’d encourage smokers to vape to reduce the risks of smoking traditional cigarettes.

US Bipartisan Bill to Increase Tobacco Sales to 21 and Restrict Online Sales

By Cali Steam Blogger
on April 19, 2019

US Bipartisan Bill to Increase Tobacco Sales to 21 and Restrict Online Sales

In the United States House of Representatives has introduced a new bipartisan bill that would set the national age to purchase tobacco and vapes products to 21 years of age. The bill would also address how tobacco products are purchased over the internet.

The bill was introduced by Alabama Republican Representative Robert Aderholt and is called the Stopping Consumption of Tobacco by Teens Act or SCOTT Act for short. The bill is a tribute to outgoing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb who amplified the teenage vaping crisis to epidemic levels.

Representative Aderholt said, “this is bipartisan legislation that builds upon the work that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, has done towards stemming the tide of youth adoption of vaping products over the past few years...The fight to curb this epidemic will not end with his departure, as proven by this first step in taking tobacco out of the ready reach of underage children.”

The SCOTT Act is also known as HR 2084 and is co-sponsored by California Democrat Juan Vargas proving that anti-vaping initiatives are popular on both sides of the aisle. A bipartisan Senate bill to ban flavored vaping products, excluding tobacco, was introduced last month.

In addition to banning sales of all tobacco and vaping products to people under 21, the SCOTT Act requires online sellers of vaping products to verify a buyer’s personal information through a third-party database (which most online vape retailers, including ourselves here at Cali Steam already do). However, it would also requires a signature on delivery by an adult 21 or older. This would increase shipping cost by at least $2 per package that we oppose here at Cali Steam. Many of our customers already complain about shipping costs and we try to cover shipping costs on larger orders but the added cost would fall back on our customers.

Supporters of HR 2084 believe the laws will prevent 18-year-old high school students from buying and distributing tobacco and vaping products to underage classmates, although similar legislation to make alcohol sales illegal to under-21’s has not eliminated youth drinking. We do not believe this bill will help improve the underage vaping problems as many states already ban sales to minors under the age of 21.

We encourage our customers to reach out to their local representatives to encourage them to vote no the SCOTT Act. For doing that you can use the coupon code “VOTENO” to get 20% off your entire online order at calisteam.com.

Public Perception of Vaping as the FDA Investigates Seizures

By Sponsored Post
on April 13, 2019

Public Perception of Vaping as the FDA Investigates Seizures

Most vaping customers have recognized for awhile now that the media doesn’t necessarily spotlight the industry in a positive light. As if the press among new vaping laws hasn’t gotten the general public concerned of it’s benefits the most recent developments about seizures most certainly will. The US Food and Drug Administration is alerting the public to a potential new risk of having a seizure and asking the public to report any instances to the agency.

To date from 2010 to early 2019 the FDA has identified 35 cases of seizures, particularly among younger customers. The agency also mentioned that they have seen a slight increase of reported causes since the middle of last year. It’s always interesting to understand their foregone conclusion that there has been a slight increase when over the last 9 years there have only been 35 reported cases.

Furthermore, the FDA mentioned that it has not been able to determine a definitive link between vaping and seizures but are still asking the general public to bring forth additional information to help them investigate.

Seizures are known to be a possible side effect of nicotine poisoning, the FDA said. "We know that nicotine isn't a harmless substance, especially in the developing brains of our youth," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr. Amy Abernethy said in the statement. "But we've also been clear that, even for adults, e-cigarettes are not risk free."

There is no clear pattern to the seizures: Some who had seizures were vaping for the first time, and some had been using these products for a while. The timing of seizures also ranged from after a few puffs on an e-cigarette to a full day later. Several people had previously received a seizure diagnosis, and a few had also been using other drugs, like marijuana or amphetamines, before the seizures occurred.

The FDA is looking into additional possible health risks when it comes to vaping, including whether they may cause cancer in the airways down the line, according to the statement.

The announcement comes as use of the products is skyrocketing among youth. The FDA revealed in November that vaping has increased nearly 80% among high schoolers and 50% among middle schoolers since the year before. Experts worry that e-cigarettes could put kids' developing brains at risk, get them hooked on nicotine early in life and be a gateway to smoking and other drugs.

The agency has made a number of other moves in recent months to counter vaping among kids, including warning and fining retailers for illegally selling e-cig products to kids. The agency has also expanded its investigation into e-cigarette companies in an effort to uncover whether they are marketing products illegally and outside the agency's compliance policy.

In January, the agency held a public hearing to consider the role of drug therapies to get kids to quit vapes and other nicotine products, with medical organizations and vaping groups weighing in on how to address rising levels of e-cigarette use among youth.

Even though most smokers will say vaping has been a blessing in their lives the media will continue to focus on its adverse effects. We’ll continue to hear more from the FDA within the United States as they provide additional guidance to manufacturers and retailers on the usage of e-cigarettes.

Massachusetts Attorney General Pivots to Vaping for Tax Revenue and Support

By Cali Steam Blogger
on April 11, 2019

Massachusetts Attorney General Pivots to Vaping for Tax Revenue and Support

The Attorney General of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, joined the growing number of elected officials to call for taxing e-cigarettes and banning flavored vaping products on Wednesday, the same day House leaders said they needed more time to consider whether to tax electronic smoking products or take additional steps to curb vaping by teenagers.

Healey, in a speech to business leaders at Bank of America in Boston, said her efforts to go after vaping companies for marketing and selling nicotine products to minors can only accomplish so much to curb youth smoking.

Healey's speech to the New England Council came hours before House leaders unveiled a annual budget plan that did not include Gov. Charlie Baker's proposal to raise $6 million in new revenues by taxing e-cigarettes and applying a 40 percent excise tax on wholesale vapor products.

Healey has moved aggressively over the past year to crack down on the marketing of electronic vaping products to minors, launching an investigation last summer of Juul, the largest vaping company in the country, to determine whether it intentionally markets to minors and whether it tracks underage use of its products.

The attorney general has also sent cease-and-desist letters to online e-cigarette retailers like the California-based Kilo E-Liquids that state investigators determined to be selling products into Massachusetts without verifying the ages of buyers.

Users of nicotine and tobacco products must be 21 year old to purchase in Massachusetts.

"Just because something is legal for adults doesn't means that it's safe and that's part of the message we have to really drive home here," Healey told business leaders on Wednesday. "Nicotine and these products are highly addictive and they're not good for developing lungs, minds and brains."

Healey said she's heard from superintendents, teachers, parents and students about the pervasiveness of vaping in schools. One student, she said, told her about receiving a pop-up ad on her phone for vaping products while using an app designed to help her with algebra homework.

The push to tax electronic cigarettes and ban flavored vaping products has appeared to gain momentum on Beacon Hill this year after the Legislature last session passed the law raising the statewide age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products to 21.

"There is no excise tax on e-cigarettes and it doesn't make sense that we don't treat it the same way as cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products," Decker said.

So call for all vaping customers in Massachusetts is to have your voices heard. Reach out to your local representatives and express your feelings for vaping and it's positive impact on your health and life.

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