JUUL faces court challenge from “nicotine addicts”
In the latest twist to the ongoing hysteria about the popular JUUL e-cigarette, the company is being sued by four people who claim the product has addicted them to nicotine. The premise of all the cases is that JUUL Labs have added more nicotine to their liquid than is necessary, making them exceptionally addictive.
The first case, filed in California this April, was brought by two men; at least one of them is a former smoker who bought a JUUL to use in a quit attempt. The second case, also in California, is another smoker who says he used JUUL to quit. In both cases they claim that JUUL’s high nicotine content increased their addiction. The problem with this argument is that nicotine, when not delivered in tobacco smoke, has never been shown to be addictive – while smokers, exposed to the full spectrum of chemicals, are addicted already.
Finally, the mother of a 15-year-old boy is suing JUUL because she claims the product got her son addicted. According to the plaintiff JUUL affected her son’s performance at school and made him irritable. She does seem slightly obsessive on the subject; by her own admission she’s removed her son’s bedroom door, asked the school to send a staff member to the toilet with him and subjected him to regular urine tests.
MPs debate UK Tobacco Control Plan
British vaping advocates kept up the pressure on the government over vaping last Friday, when sympathetic MPs pushed for more support for safer alternatives to cigarettes. The most impressive speaker in the whole debate was Sir Kevin Barron, the Labour MP for Rother Valley, who went against his party’s generally anti-vaping stance to make several excellent points.
Barron stressed that a proper harm reduction strategy is key to reducing the health inequalities caused by smoking. As an example he cited the difference between Ireland, which has taken a hard line on vaping, and the UK where the government and medical establishment have been far more supportive. In the roughly six years since UK and Irish policies started to diverge the smoking rate in Ireland has stayed almost unchanged, whereas in the UK it was falling at a record rate – from 19.6% in 2012 to 15.8% in 2016 – until the negative impacts of plain packs and the EU TPD started to kick in last year.
Speaking after the debate, NNA chair Sarah Jakes commended Barron’s comments but urged the government to do more to counter negative perceptions of e-cigarettes. Pointing out that many of the public still don’t understand how much safer vaping is compared to smoking, she urged the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health, Steve Brine, to take a less cautious approach to harm reduction.
New study demolishes high-temperature vaping scares
A host of academic papers have attempted to link vaping at higher temperatures – roughly equivalent to the higher power output of modern vapour products – with health risks, usually centring around production of formaldehyde and other potentially hazardous chemicals. These have been countered by experiments based on real-world conditions, which have conclusively shown that actual vapers are not exposed to these hazards. Now a new study has shown that coil temperature is not linked to any increased risks to blood vessels or the heart.
The new research, carried out by the Université Libre de Bruxelles, compared the effects of vaping at high temperatures (both with and without nicotine) with a non-vaping control experiment. The vaping experiments used realistic equipment – modern mods running at 60W, and fitted with 0.4Ω coils. This avoided the problem that repeatedly surfaces in studies by THR opponents, where a CE4 clearomiser is run at power levels far outside their design parameters.
After comparing the two vaping tests with the non-vaping control, the researchers found that vaping non-nicotine liquids at high power had no negative effects on endothelial cells (which line blood vessels), arterial stiffness or oxidative stress. Vaping with nicotine did increase arterial stiffness, along with heart rate and blood pressure. Vapers shouldn’t be too concerned, though, as these are well-known short term effects of nicotine use, and are also caused by many other things including caffeine and physical exercise.