With the public’s concern about e-cigarettes and related diseases and deaths, more and more large retailers and e-commerce platforms began to stop selling e-cigarettes. Now, is it more risky to take a vape?
No.1. Problems escalating
Alibaba and Jingdong, the two largest e-commerce platforms in China, announced recently that they would stop selling electronic cigarettes and accessories to American buyers in view of the continuous emergence of overseas e-cigarettes and related pulmonary diseases.
These decisions are closely related to the refusal of large retail enterprises to sell e-cigarettes in the United States and the exposure of related lung disease cases.
Following last month’s announcement by Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the United States, Kroger, the US supermarket chain giant, and Walgreen, the largest chain drugstore operator in the United States, joined Bozi Group in suspending the sale of electronic cigarettes.
As early as September, CBS, Viacom and CNN’s parent Warner media announced that they would no longer broadcast e-cigarette ads. Since then, retail enterprises have joined this camp. According to media reports, due to the diseases and deaths caused by e-cigarettes, as well as the subsequent restrictions of federal, state and local regulatory authorities in the United States, the e-cigarette industry began to be in turmoil.
It is reported that earlier this summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a criminal investigation into the supply chain of e-cigarettes. After receiving the report of lung disease related to e-cigarettes, the criminal investigation office quickly started the investigation work.
According to the agency, more than 530 people in the United States have been affected and 7 people have died. The researchers suspect that exposure to a chemical may have caused lung lesions, but the cause has not been confirmed. Media reports said the symptoms of these patients included cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. All of these cases are related to smoking or using electronic cigarette related products.
Analysis from medical institutions showed that some affected patients used electronic cigarette products containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), while others used nicotine products or products containing both THC and nicotine. Earlier, the head of tobacco control at the British Ministry of Public Health said in an interview with the media that most cases in the United States were related to the use of illegal vape.
The FDA’s stand seems very firm. In light of recent developments, the regulator said in a public statement, “do not use electronic cigarette products containing THC, and do not modify or add any substances to electronic cigarette products, such as THC or other vape juice.”
So far, most of the diseases are suspected to be caused by the combination of nicotine and THC, and the source of THC is not regulated by formal channels. Current studies have shown that about 36% of known respiratory problems are caused by the use of THC.
No.2. Teenagers become the focus of protection
Recently, Anne Schuchat, the chief deputy director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the media at a conference call that the ongoing investigation involved several states, hundreds of cases and a large number of products. The news of the investigation comes as regulators in several states in the United States have begun to strengthen the supervision of electronic cigarette products, especially the use of young people.
The head of FDA in the United States has said earlier that the growth of young people in electronic cigarette users in the United States is amazing, with the use of high school students increasing by about 78% and junior high school students also increasing by 48%. In response to the trend of young people smoking e-cigarettes, the head of FDA also warned that once the results of the national youth tobacco survey showed that the use rate of young people’s e-cigarettes further increased, the e-cigarette industry may be completely banned.
In fact, the majority of recently published cases of related patients are young users.
According to the U.S. Department of health, 27% of high school students in the United States used electronic cigarette products in 2018, compared with 10.5% in 2014. A survey conducted by the Department in 2017 found that 19% of e-cigarette users aged 15 to 17 said that different flavors of carts were the main inducement for them to try to use e-cigarettes.
Just last week, Michigan became the first state in the United States to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes. Michigan governor Whitmer explained to the media that the move was aimed at protecting young people. “As governor, my first priority is to protect children’s safety,” Whitmer said in a statement.
This remark is specific to the fact that many companies selling e-cigarette products are using different flavoring methods to attract young people’s interest in nicotine and mislead them to claim that the product is safe. After the relevant ban is issued, it will completely prohibit businesses from selling flavored e-cigarettes in the form of Internet or retail. At that time, the ban will last for six months.
Massachusetts also imposed a four-month ban on all electronic cigarette products. In Washington State, the State Health Council adopted Governor Jay Insley’s call for an urgent ban on flavored electronic cigarette products. Several other states have passed or are considering temporary bans.
No.3 trend of e-cigarette market
The electronic cigarette market may usher in a ban storm in the future.
Recently, a member of the Los Angeles City Council put forward a proposal, “Before the U.S. Food and drug administration believes that electronic cigarette device is safe, it should prohibit the sale of related products in the local area.”
“The city of Los Angeles shouldn’t sit around and wait because the number of diseases and even deaths associated with unregulated e-cigarettes is increasing every day,” said congressman Paul koretz. As of last week, 1080 potential lung injuries related to e-cigarettes had to be hospitalized, including 18 deaths, Kretz said, citing authoritative statistics. He points out that California alone has about 100 cases, including two deaths.
As early as Los Angeles City Council raised objections, on September 15 local time, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an emergency administrative order banning the sale of flavored electronic cigarette products. Andrew Cuomo, the state governor, accused e-cigarette companies of using candy and fruit flavored products to lure teenagers into nicotine addiction.
“When a new generation of young people are addicted to nicotine, we can’t wait for the federal government to take action. This ban on the sale of menthol flavors will further strengthen the protection of young people.” However, the Court of Appeal rejected New York State’s emergency injunction, which should have come into effect this week. In response, New York State officials said they would continue to promote the implementation of the flavored electronic cigarette ban.
Some voices from the insurance industry make the trend of e-cigarettes encountering supervision more intriguing. The Prudential Insurance Scheme imposes higher life insurance premiums on people who use electronic cigarettes to keep their policy prices in line with those of ordinary smokers.
The company said in a statement that when applying for personal insurance, e-cigarette users will also be classified as smokers rather than non-smokers, and smokers are often charged higher insurance fees than non-smokers. A spokesman for the company said: “in the past few months, people’s attention to e-cigarettes has been increasing, and it has been linked with a number of deaths and a variety of diseases, resulting in warnings from the FDA, the federal government and some states to ban the use of flavored e-cigarettes.” He stressed that the company will begin to reclassify e-cigarette users as smokers in the next few weeks.
In addition to the production enterprises, the sales channels of e-cigarette products are also facing the focus of supervision.
According to CNN, members of Congress have proposed legislation to limit nicotine levels in e-cigarettes. Earlier this September, the U.S. Department of Health issued three subpoenas to investigate the ingredients used in e-cigarette products. The Department also issued a new regulation requiring retailers to post clear warnings about health risks associated with e-cigarettes.
At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration said that by May 2020, all e-cigarette and e-cigarette sales enterprises need to apply for certification. FDA officials said the application process would “ensure that products that are authorized for sale do not harm public health.”
Even if the above “ban” is difficult to implement, the tax authorities will take some unusual measures. Media reports say the government plans to impose a 20% sales tax on all e-cigarettes to reduce the number of teenagers using e-cigarettes. According to Bloomberg, the sales tax may take effect on December 1 this year.
Even pigs can fly in the eye of a storm. But in a multi-pronged regulation manner, the countdown of electronic cigarette storm eye may be accelerating.