Coverage of e-cigarettes walks a fine line – Columbia Journalism Review

Suddenly, Juul is everywhere. The slim, Silicon Valley–born devices, which deliver hits of nicotine-infused vapor available in an array of flavors, sparked alarm as their popularity reportedly exploded in high schools across the country. As the media picked up on the trend, articles appeared in small town newspapers and national glossy magazines, decoding “Juuling” for parents and out-of-the-loop adults.

Since entering the market in 2015, Juul has grown to dominate the e-cigarette game, particularly catching on among young people. While teen smoking rates have decreased over the last two decades, e-cigarette use has climbed in recent years. About 3.6 million middle and high schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2018—1.5 million more students than last year, according to numbers released last week by the Food and Drug Administration. Some 10.8 million adults now use e-cigarettes, more than half of whom are under age 35, according to a study released in August. Under pressure to reduce teen interest, Juul Labs unveiled a plan earlier this month that involves shuttering its Instagram and Facebook presence, limiting its Twitter and YouTube content, and working with social media companies to curb user-generated posts, in addition to stopping sales of flavored pods in retail stores. The FDA also unveiled steps last week that aim to reduce youth access to flavored e-cigarettes.

Writing about Juul however, has proven complicated. The prospect of vaping as a healthier alternative for adult smokers has helped it escape the negative media framing that tobacco usually gets. But neither can the media completely ignore the risks of Juul, which spread among teens via social media. It leaves journalists to strike a balance between the trendiness, the health risks, and the potential benefits of Juuling.

Many stories seeking to explain Juul have included descriptions of the devices and the heady feeling it delivers. In an August piece by

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Here's how Juul and other vape products affect your body – Indianapolis Star


Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb faces some difficult decisions on bills coming out of the 2017 Indiana General Assembly on issues ranging from cold beer sales, vaping, gun rights and the medical use of marijuana. Dwight Adams/IndyStar

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Oils used in vaping devices, along with smokeless tobacco at the Rickers location at E. Hanna and S. East Streets, Indianapolis, Friday, June 17, 2016.(Photo: Robert Scheer/IndyStar)Buy Photo

E-cigarette use continues to rise, especially among young people.

The results of the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) show some staggering numbers: from 2017 to 2018, there was a 78 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students, and a 48 percent increase in middle school students.

The ABCs of vaping: Here’s everything you need to know about vape, Juul, e-cigarettes and the FDA

FDA takes action on vaping: FDA to limit sale of sweet vaping flavors. Here’s how Indiana kids use Juul, other e-cigs

On Nov. 15, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would crack down on sales of flavored e-cigarette to minors. In stores, age-restriction measures must be put into place, and firmer age verification practices should be developed for online sales. This is seen as a win for for health advocates and activists. 

“E-cigarettes have been increasingly used by minors, especially when they are used in combination with flavors, making them more addictive to minors,” said Dr. Khalil Diab, a pulmonologist for Indiana University Health.

But what harm does vaping do to users, especially teenagers? There’s still research to be done, but here’s what we know: 

What is in vape juice?

It depends on what specific product you buy, and ingredients vary by manufacturer. Generally, vape juice, or e-liquid, contains nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable

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Major E-Cigarette Brand Suspends Some Product Sales – Spectrum News

E-cigarettes are all over, and Juul Labs has nearly cornered the market.

Their goal: to improve the lives of a billion smokers. But some of their “pods” will vanish like smoke.

“The FDA, a couple months ago, raided Juul’s offices with a subpoena to see if there’s any evidence that they were purposefully targeting young people,” said Cornell University Associate Professor Jeff Niederdeppe.

“While working towards our mission, an unintended serious problem has developed: underage usage of our product,” said Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns.

Niederdeppe says statistics show about 20 percent of high schoolers use e-cigarettes. He added specific pods can attract younger smokers.

“We know that flavored e-cigarettes like cotton candy and mango dream … these kinds of flavors appeal to young people,” he said.

The pods that Juul will smoke out of over 90,000 retail stores are mango, fruit, creme, and cucumber.

“The only consequence to these laws is to the retailer themselves. Once the transaction is done, as long as that person was of legal age, everything after that is legal,” said New York State Vapor Association President Michael Frennier.

Frennier adds the issue is with tobacco laws; that the issue is with the corner stores, not the vape shops. He believes suspending the pods will hurt vape shops’ bottom lines.

“There’s not professional training when it comes to vaping products in a convenience store or a gas station,” Frennier said.

Niederdeppe says it could be too little, too late.

“One could argue that a lot of the damage is already done. Juul owns 75 percent of the e-cigarette market already,” Niederdeppe said.

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Why you should talk to your teen about the dangers of e-cigarettes –

A study also found that the use of e-cigarettes is closely linked to the eventual use of other tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and smokeless tobacco. Some e-cigarette systems can be used to deliver illicit substances, like marijuana, in unidentifiable flavored smoke.

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Guest op-ed: The e-cigarettes public health crisis – The Daily Tar Heel

Who’s more likely to start smoking? Scientific evidence shows that adolescent e-cigarette users are the ones more likely to start. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), teens who are e-cigarette users have a 30.7 percent chance of starting to smoke combustible tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and hookahs) within six months; whereas, non-e-cigarette users have just an 8.1 percent chance of smoking combustible tobacco products within six months. 

As reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), last year, more than two million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes. This type of cigarette use poses an enormous and avoidable health risk to teens in the United States. Some evidence even suggests that e-cigarette use is linked to alcohol use and other substance use, such as marijuana and cocaine. 

Why should we care? It is important to prevent harm to youth and young adults from e-cigarettes – a public health disaster. We, currently, know more than enough to act to protect the health of our country’s young people. Everyone has a role, including the government. 

What steps should the government take to stop sales of e-cigarettes to minors? First, significantly increase the sales of e-cigarette products. State and local governments should consider imposing taxes on these products to discourage teen use. Second, aggressive media campaigns are essential to educate our youth on the harms of the products. Realistically, one way this could be funded is to require manufacturers to pay a specific percentage of their profits or sales into a fund that would be used to fund this media campaign. 

Bottom line – tobacco addiction among youth is going down; however, don’t be fooled because big tobacco companies are now becoming big vaping companies. They need a replacement additive product. The FDA is right. E-cigarette use

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