The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul
May 7, 2018 8:54 AM   Subscribe

#juuling All the rage these days is Juul, an e-cigarette device that the teens just love and that is making up a huge part of the e-cigarette market. While Chuck Schumer tries to ban it, Jia Tolentino does the hard work of seeing what all the fuss is about.
posted by dis_integration (209 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh joy. A keurig meets a printer cartridge, but for nicotine addiction.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on May 7, 2018 [35 favorites]


Longtime vaper here. Tried the Juul, but found it unsatisfying. Limited flavors (and not very good ones) and comparatively expensive. But I can see the appeal: it delivers a satisfying "throat hit", and compared to some of the other devices on the market, it's relatively discreet.

But what really irks me is the drive to demonize vaping to begin with. Of course it's not a great habit, but there's no question it is far safer than smoking. And I know of no studies that claim vaping is a gateway to smoking; in fact, as far as I can tell, it is mostly the other way around. Me, personally, I haven't touched an "analog" in eight years, and I'm grateful for that. I still get my nicotine fix, I have something to fidget with, and I feel great. Harm reduction is real, people.
posted by monospace at 9:39 AM on May 7, 2018 [81 favorites]


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
posted by dudemanlives at 9:43 AM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


Good business model if you can get it!

I think it ultimately comes down to how serious are the risks of nicotine on its own. What percentage of the adult population is addicted to caffeine nearly harmlessly? I don't really know enough to know whether it can work like that for nicotine but I also find it unlikely that these kids are going to end up smoking cigarettes. I bet that shit isn't even strong enough for them.
posted by atoxyl at 9:43 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


From the teen comments in the article, it seems like the best way to kill teen nicotine addiction through Juul is to get lots of middle-aged people to start using it. They very much think of it as a teen thing.

I don't get the anti-vaping animosity. It seems like a great substitute for burning tiny pieces of wood that poison the air for everyone nearby. The only real problem I can see with it is that the supplies are expensive and proprietary--but I suspect someone could make an open-source design that wouldn't work as well as the corporate ones, but cost a lot less.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:43 AM on May 7, 2018 [20 favorites]


This is eyeroll-worthy panic. The vast majority of us ingest an addictive substance every day. It's called caffeine.
posted by AFABulous at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2018 [28 favorites]


a bodybuilder Juuling in a tank top that says “Real Men Eat Ass”

We ran into somebody my wife knew from high school not too long ago, and her boyfriend (husband?) was wearing that shirt. In public. Like, just walking around like no big deal. I do not know if he Juuls.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2018 [25 favorites]


The New York Times had a pearl-clutching article in the Style Section about the Juul and its appeal to kids a few weeks ago:

The Juul Is Too Cool
posted by monospace at 9:46 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


e-cigs were useless for me in quitting smoking; they just reminded me that I wanted the real thing......but others have had different results

As for the kids in the article, good luck to them. Good ass-eating.
posted by thelonius at 9:50 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


SO SF is trying to ban most if not all flavored tobacco products (not sure If this applies to vape juice too) and there has been a really strong backlash that *seemed* to come organically from shop owners and various interest groups.
WRONG! all funded by R.J Reynolds! One of the major evil tobacco COs, who owns a lot of vaping tech. Like tobacco is tobacco! I don't want second hand smoke in my face- I don't want second hand vape either.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:51 AM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


Monospace:

. Harm reduction is real, people.

BULLSHIT. That's not what this article is about.

Smoking was down amongst all teens. but now vaping is on the rise in teens at rates independent of smoking harm reduction!

Let's be clear. The chances of repeated daily vaping - on a teenage population! - IMPROVING lung/cardiovascular health are slim to none.

Now, because of savvy marketing, people who wouldn't otherwise smoke are becoming addicted to nicotine and setting themselves up for (likely) a nice lifetime of lung damage and cardiovascular damages.

This is NOT "methadone clinics for addicts are a net positive", it's more "marketing methadone to never-heroin-using teenagers and making new opioid addicts, but with a much less safe delivery mechanism than oral ingestion".
posted by lalochezia at 9:52 AM on May 7, 2018 [105 favorites]


Such a weird story. I don't hang out with teens, so it sounds like something someone made up.
Also, I never heard of Juul until a few days ago, now I have read about it several times. Always makes me suspicious.

I know people who vape, all people my age who quit smoking or are trying. They always seem slightly embarrassed by it, because it's kind of stupid. How it could seem so cool that you'd work for free doing social media promotion is beyond me. I've never seen kids doing it.

I don't understand how anyone could think this could possibly be harmless, yet it seems ridiculous to think this isn't far healthier and more desirable than smoking cigarettes.

People are weird.
posted by bongo_x at 9:54 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


I don't get the anti-vaping animosity.

I don't want to walk down the street or be stuck in a confined space forced to smell artificial mango cucumber haze just so some asshole can get their drug fix. I have a hard time believing that breathing air plus some stranger's nicotine and cotton candy flavouring breath is just as healthy as breathing air alone. It's not that hard to imagine, I think.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2018 [61 favorites]


That's not what this article is about.

I wasn't commenting on the article. I was relating my own experience, and that of many other former smokers that I know. Vaping, for me, has been a life changer. And I started out by acknowledging that it isn't a great habit, but compared to cigarettes? Get real.

And as to your assertion that vaping is a gateway to cigarettes: not my experience. ALL the vapers that I know are former smokers.

I'm not worried about kids moving from Juuling to smoking. Smoking is a lot more expensive, it's filthy, it has immediate negative physical effects, and it's just not cool.
posted by monospace at 9:59 AM on May 7, 2018 [14 favorites]


There’s no question vaping is less harmful and I believe e-cigarettes are a public health revolution. Because I was a very cool teenager, I got addicted to cigarettes *hard* at a young age. I tried every single stop smoking aid out there and none made giving up cigarettes remotely easy. Transitioning to a vape was painless. From there, I just dialed down my nicotine until I was done. What convinced me to try was the American Heart Association putting out a statement that said yeah, unknown long term risks but likely to be far safer than smoking, some published data about no short term risk and maybe we should get behind this thing.

That having been said, this thing with kids is new. I’m certainly concerned about undeveloped minds choosing to addict themselves to an entirely unnecessary chemical that is very very hard to quit. But I keep coming back to the fact that we don’t really know that nicotine itself is all that bad, and you can choose to slowly decrease your intake over time. Is it worth it to make kids suffer as collateral damage as we transition to a cigarette-free society? I don’t know.

Kids are always going to do dumb things. I support efforts to limit kids’ access to these things knowing full well that’s going to make them more alluring. And I’m kind of okay playing that game with the assumption that e-cigarettes are probably/hopefully not terrible.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2018 [10 favorites]


On one hand, I'm glad my son no longer smokes.
On the other hand, I'm sad he's still addicted to nicotine.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:02 AM on May 7, 2018


I wish someone would ask why it is that so many teens get into this stuff in the first place, because I don't think it's all about coolness, and at least in my working-class high school, the peer pressure was negligible--if someone offered you a cigarette, they were seriously doing you a favor and they were more than happy to have you turn them down because those things were expensive. I'd like it if teenagers who are inclined that direction had more of an opportunity to, for example, explore if they need ADD treatment, antidepressants, or just saner school start times before assuming that the most logical solution is to spare no expense in preventing them from having access to nicotine in any form.

I never smoked as a teenager because my dad was more gross than usual about his cigarettes--he had a tendency to ash in whatever dirty dish was closest, and there were usually a lot of them around precisely because I didn't like doing dishes when they were full of cigarette ashes. But I consumed caffeine in ridiculous quantities long before actually getting my ADD diagnosis, and it's really just luck that I didn't wind up a smoker. I doubt that vaping is really good for sixteen-year-olds, but like... it'd be nice if anybody cared why a kid that age feels the need to either have more energy or less stress, you know? I managed to skip smoking, but I'm not sure the Nodoz were good for me, either, much less the number of Excedrin I took before I realized it was the caffeine that was helping and not the pain relievers.
posted by Sequence at 10:05 AM on May 7, 2018 [22 favorites]


I don't want to walk down the street ... forced to smell artificial mango cucumber haze just so some asshole can get their drug fix.

Your need to never be exposed to "weird smells" is not really anyone else's concern.
posted by TypographicalError at 10:06 AM on May 7, 2018 [35 favorites]


And as to your assertion that vaping is a gateway to cigarettes: not my experience.

Nobody has made this supposed assertion you keep refuting.

ALL the vapers that I know are former smokers.

How many are thirteen-year-olds?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:07 AM on May 7, 2018 [17 favorites]


Vaping: A harm reduction method to move away from cigarette addiction.
Vaping: Great way to become quickly addicted to expensive nicotine packs at a young age, and look like a jackass.

Both are true; things can be a spectrum. It's also a good bet that we will see some evidence of secondhand vape effects in the coming years. Just because it isn't smoke doesn't make it ok for others to breath it. Especially in confined spaces with recirculated air where vapers take liberties they couldn't take with cigarettes.

Also, you look like you're sucking a robot's dick.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2018 [13 favorites]


My daughter goes to a large, inner city high school and Juul is a huge issue. It’s definitely something the kids are doing...
posted by pearlybob at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, I'm sad he's still addicted to nicotine.

Would you still be sad if he was using the gum or the patch long term or is it just because it's visible?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:09 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Would you still be sad if he was using the gum or the patch long term...

Yes.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:12 AM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


I suspect someone could make an open-source design that wouldn't work as well as the corporate ones, but cost a lot less.

When I vaped (I stopped after a couple weeks at zero nicotine; got me to finally quit cigarettes for good) this was pretty much how it was. You'd buy a few different parts for your vaping rig, and then you'd buy the juice in little bottles that they'd mix up at the vape store with whatever combination of glycerine, propylene glycol, flavoring, and nicotine you wanted. (You could also order the various ingredients online and mix your own, but I never got into that.) You'd either buy the wicks or make your own from special cord and nichrome wire (I used to like to make my own) and then you'd put it all together.

I assume you can still do this? Those big chunky vape rigs that I see people walking around with look pretty much like the one I used to use back when I was doing it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


I dunno, the big drawback about this seems to me to be that it's relatively expensive - it seems like a great way to hook people into spending a bunch of money over a lifetime. The health effects seem pretty equivocal. The addiction piece seems problematic because it's so constant - you can drink a couple of coffees a day and basically take care of your caffeine needs, but this seems like if facebook notifications were literal drugs.

This article made me want one. I'm anxious and basically don't smoke because cigarettes seem gross, so it's like I'm a very, very old teenager!

I am hoping that being a teenager today only sounds nightmarish due to the usual moral panics in the media about teens, but TBH the whole "constantly curate your social media presence and always be getting into it with people on social media and it has real world effects" thing sounds like hell on a plate.
posted by Frowner at 10:14 AM on May 7, 2018 [11 favorites]


Oh, and I dunno about how the corporate-disposable stuff is nowadays, but when I was doing it the reason people made their own rigs was that they worked much better than the ones you were at that time just starting to be able to buy in drug stores and gas stations.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:14 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, you look like you're sucking a robot's dick .

That is, explicitly, part of the Juul's appeal - they combine better-than-average technology wrt producing a volume or flavorful vapor with the distinct benefit of not looking like robot penis. Much more like blowing a whistle.

I do think it is interesting that this whole issue was basically predicted by everyone involved in early research about vaping and attitudes towards tobacco - a friend who worked on keeping people from smoking said that while the short term substitute in use among active smokers was obviously desirable, eventually you'd have kids pick up vaping who would not otherwise have started smoking, which seems to clearly be the case.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:15 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


ALL the vapers that I know are former smokers.

How many are thirteen-year-olds?


I have a fifteen-year-old. He's told me about one or two kids in his class that vape. From what I can tell, it's not something that a majority of kids actually think is cool. It's like an old meme at this point, or like still collecting last year's fidget spinners.

FWIW, none of the kids he knows smoke.
posted by monospace at 10:15 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Your need to never be exposed to "weird smells" is not really anyone else's concern.

Are you aware that not everyone is a libertarian sociopath?

Plenty of people are concerned with other people’s comfort. So many, in fact, that the English language has a great many names for the phenomenon: Courtesy, respect, politeness, civility, manners, urbanity, consideration, cordiality, thoughtfulness, etc., etc., etc.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2018 [112 favorites]


And yes, super addictive. My nicotine consumption shot way up when I started vaping, even as my overall health improved. But then I started reducing the nicotine concentration in my liquid and after a few months of gentle, no-issues titration and a final week or so of furiously sucking away at a nicotineless e-cig in some kind of weird extinction burst, I was able to finally walk away.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:17 AM on May 7, 2018 [18 favorites]


I'd be interested in seeing how many of these kids are actually doing it after getting out of school and especially into the workforce, where they're less likely to be around a bunch of vapers.
posted by AFABulous at 10:20 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


I don't get the anti-vaping animosity.

Then you may have never been downwind from someone releasing huge clouds of tobacco-scented vapor and being all smug about it because "it ain't smoking, bro." Or been in a relatively small room holding an AA meeting that started as the only meeting in the area where smoking wasn't allowed, where someone chose to do the same even though it was pleasant weather outside. That's why vaping bans are so popular. I fully support risk reduction, but FFS people, way to make it even more obnoxious than smoking. (And, per the FPP, if Juul is better than the fog-machine-level rigs, bully for them.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:22 AM on May 7, 2018 [19 favorites]


I know someone who works very hard for liberal causes, but also works very hard against pot reform because they hate the smell.
posted by bongo_x at 10:26 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Second hand vapor is a problem that is entirely solvable with a basic level of courtesy. Don’t give people a reason to ban these things just because you didn’t want to move downwind.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2018 [9 favorites]


I vididly remember that as a 2nd grader I read a Scholastic magazine article about flavored cigarettes being marketed to children in the developing world (bidis). It made a big impact on me! Certainly encouraged a skepticism of marketing. I should figure out who wrote that piece.

The flavoring of e-cigs (which is ill-regulated and can be inherently harmful) appears to me the primary issue when it comes to use among children. The FDA banned flavored (non-menthol) cigarettes in 2009 and had a further ban on bidis on 2014.

Presumably people using vapes as cigarette smoking cessation aides would still find them valuable without added scents.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


public health professional here. most of us are more or less cautiously optimistic about vaping, though i may be a little loose with "optimistic."

Vaping is definitely useful to help people quit smoking, and that's great.

There are side effects, both known and unknown, that are really concerning - which is why a lot of people want to put the brakes on talk that frames vaping as a healthy cigarette. We don't know that, and we won't be able to know ramifications (especially if there's widespread use) for a long time. Decades.

Oh, and tobacco companies figuring out how to pivot in a world where they were losing prestige and profit - that's also concerning, because fuck those criminals.
posted by entropone at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2018 [27 favorites]


As a former smoker who quit via an e-cigarette, I try to be compassionate toward vapers under the assumption that at least some of them are trying to do the same thing. Quitting cigarettes is one of the best things anyone can possibly do for both personal and public health, but it's fucking hard. I don't want to make it any harder than it absolutely has to be, by stigmatizing vaping.

Compared to cigarette smoking it really is much less obnoxious. It smells better (I mean it smells weird but not like burning garbage), there's no cigarette butt litter, it doesn't cause permanent smell-stains in places where people do it, "secondhand vape" is a miniscule health hazard by comparison to smoke, it's not a fire hazard, etc. etc. It's a massive improvement. It looks dorky and it smells weird, but that's about the extent of it. If putting up with that is the price I have to pay to make it easier for someone to quit (even though not all vapers are interested in quitting) then as someone who has been there, I'm all for it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2018 [25 favorites]


I fail to see why they SHOULDN'T be banned from all places smoking is banned. What's the argument for them being allowed anywhere?
posted by agregoli at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2018 [14 favorites]


I think the argument is that it's much less hazardous to bystanders, doesn't generate litter, and is not a fire hazard.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2018 [9 favorites]


I worry about two things with vaping.

1) Popcorn lung type issues. It really isn't clear what the vapor consists of particularly with so many small manufacturers mixing shit in independent shops. Inhaling stuff into your lungs always seems to cause problems.
2) Once any issues become apparent decades from now all the profit makers will have vanished leaving nobody liable.
posted by srboisvert at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2018 [14 favorites]


a bodybuilder Juuling in a tank top that says “Real Men Eat Ass”

Ass-addiction is real, people. You don't want to know about the danger of toxic vapor there.
posted by w0mbat at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


I fail to see why they SHOULDN'T be banned from all places smoking is banned. What's the argument for them being allowed anywhere?

Especially since, quite frankly, the evidence is clear that banning tobacco use from public places helps to lower population-wide tobacco use. And that is a very good thing.
posted by entropone at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2018 [15 favorites]


Personally, I'm glad I quit smoking before vaping was available. I used the gum, which was not designed to be a pleasant experience beyond the relief of craving. If vaping was around, there's a very good chance I would have switched to it and simply retained the addiction.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:34 AM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't want it anywhere smoking is now, blissfully, disallowed. I don't want the product banned. I think people are conflating the two in some responses.
posted by agregoli at 10:34 AM on May 7, 2018 [18 favorites]


The animosity to vaping, at least in my experience, has less to do with public health concerns (though it certainly should include those concerns, imo) and more about the People Who Vape.

Look, I'm someone who was able to kick the tobacco habit through the use of e-cigs. I'm grateful that the tech exists. That said, there's a pretty major difference between the e-cigs and the vape rigs. And that main difference is the amount of space they take up.

The proper cloud-blowing, cotton-ripping vape rigs are one more way for (mostly) white dudes to take up space. And act entitled about it.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:35 AM on May 7, 2018 [26 favorites]


This is eyeroll-worthy panic. The vast majority of us ingest an addictive substance every day. It's called caffeine.

This. This. This.

Jeeeez, this is just, sooooo embarrassing to read.
posted by odinsdream at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


But vaping *is* banned from places where smoking is banned, at least here in NYC. And that's as it should be, because as mentioned above, the fewer places it's allowed, the less attractive it becomes. But assholes gonna asshole, I guess. Don't be a vaping asshole, you're giving the rest of us a bad name.

As much as I enjoy (yes, enjoy) vaping, it's not something I would recommend to anyone unless they already smoke cigarettes. Vaporizers are not "healthy cigarettes", they're a nicotine delivery device. And while nicotine is highly addictive and comes with its own health issues, at least it is not known to cause cancer.
posted by monospace at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


Sys Rq: "Your need to never be exposed to "weird smells" is not really anyone else's concern.

Are you aware that not everyone is a libertarian sociopath?

Plenty of people are concerned with other people’s comfort. So many, in fact, that the English language has a great many names for the phenomenon: Courtesy, respect, politeness, civility, manners, urbanity, consideration, cordiality, thoughtfulness, etc., etc., etc.
"

I live in a world where "manners" doesn't include reducing my smell profile while I'm walking around on sidewalks so that random people aren't momentarily discomfitted. There are limits to these things.
posted by TypographicalError at 10:44 AM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


I know a few people who quit smoking with the help of vaping, but the two aspects people have cited as specific to vaping and particularly helpful in quitting via vape are both negated by the Juul's very design. Earlier vape rigs were fiddly and occasionally leaky and could be a messy pain to refill. Earlier vape rigs offered graduated strengths of nicotine liquid. Neither of these is true for the Juul. This makes it less likely that someone will eventually get tired of the hassle of an empty or leaky vape and give up. This also makes it impossible for a user to wean themselves onto lower-nicotine and nicotine-free liquids. That is, of course, in the interest of shareholders, but it strikes me as not super-great, long-term, for public health.
posted by halation at 10:46 AM on May 7, 2018 [10 favorites]


doesn't generate litter

Lies! Those little cartridges are all over the ground on the campus I work on.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:47 AM on May 7, 2018 [13 favorites]


I was interested in Illinois, where I live, so I looked it up - vaping is banned in "enclosed" workspaces, including bars and restaurants. Great! Not sure it would be subject to the other rules about smoking, such as people standing 15 feet from a doorway, etc.

Vaping smoke does concern me in that we don't know the long-term effects yet. I have asthma (well controlled at the moment) but certain air fresheners and scents can constrict my lungs. With the huge amount of flavorings and different brands of vapes, I'm not certain that it's really that safe to be around, for people like me. It doesn't seem like an indoor activity that should be sanctioned at all. I'm glad to see many states have taken action by treating vaping the same as cigarette smoking.

For kids, I hate that there's one more thing that they can be addicted to - not in a "oh no drugs" kind of way, but the time, expense, and money to evil companies are reasons alone to not be happy kids are taking it up.
posted by agregoli at 10:48 AM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


(correction - IL does NOT have a statewide vaping ban - it is separated into localities that have taken action)
posted by agregoli at 10:49 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


I’m generally skeptical of people who believe the smells they are exposed to are everyone else’s responsibility, but you can *see* ecig vapor and it’s a weird artificial chemical thing. It’s a reasonable thing to imagine another human not wanting to inhale that stuff.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:50 AM on May 7, 2018 [20 favorites]


About the only litter I see in my neighborhood are the occasional beer can and the much more common wrappers for disposable vape sticks. No Juuls that I can recall, but there are several other brands. I live in what is nominally tobacco country so you'd expect empty cigarette packs to be ubiquitous, but I can't think of the last time I saw any, while I spotted two or three vape wrappers just this morning.
posted by ardgedee at 10:51 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am also against Axe body spray.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on May 7, 2018 [48 favorites]


Burhanistan: Also, you look like you're sucking a robot's dick.

I hung out with several seasonal workers this winter who referred to each other's vapes/pens as "robot dick" and frequently requested in public to suck on each other's. Crass, but all the stigma just got turned around and owned, gleefully.

In the early 2010s, around the time I graduated from college, vaping quickly became a status thing in some groups. It caught on like wildfire with the street racing crews around the city, the college kids who hung out at the hookah spots off-campus, ravers and kandy kids, etc.

My partner and I switched from hookah to vaping 4 years ago, which is true for some of our friends as well. In my larger social circles, all the heckling we got was very quickly silenced after they tried it themselves (and then bought their own vapes). But when we started, it just seemed like something a million times better than cigarettes: no tar in your lungs, it tasted way better and you didn't carry around the stench of stale cigarette smoke with you for the rest of the day. No-brainer.

Some of us used it to successfully quit cigarettes/chew. I was never addicted to nicotine myself, I have had a handful of vapes, but I hate the throat hit and buy 0% nicotine juice. I really only vape because a) blowing rings and other smoke tricks is fun, and 2) it tastes delicious and scratches my dessert itch without the calories. I have no idea what the big deal is, some of the people quotes in this article were cringe-worthy in their desperation to paint Juuling as the new rubber bracelet sex code trend.

I'm pretty sure teens always have been and always will be interested in something that makes them fit in, appear cool and irreverent, and offers a "safe" way of playing around with mind-altering substances as a way of temporarily escaping the hellscape that is high school. Belonging to a group and being accepted is huge too, that's practically a stimulant in and of itself. If it weren't Juuling, it would be something else edgy and questionably harmful that adults freely have access to. (Maybe the real problem is what kids are Juuling to escape from?)
posted by Snacks at 10:53 AM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


I can smell Axe body spray chemtrails behind joggers on the local trails. That shit just lingers like egg farts.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:53 AM on May 7, 2018 [12 favorites]


There’s no question vaping is less harmful

There are in fact a lot of questions about that! Questions that won't be answered for decades.
posted by dilaudid at 10:57 AM on May 7, 2018 [25 favorites]


I assume you can still do this? Those big chunky vape rigs that I see people walking around with look pretty much like the one I used to use back when I was doing it.

Definitely, and people who are into customizing their vape setup still seem to be really into it. But then you do run into the issues of un-regulation, and it seems that sleek mass products like Juul (didn't know it was made by the Pax vape people) are taking over in terms of market share.
posted by atoxyl at 11:00 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


I understand that I breathe what other people exhale all day every day, I just really don't need to be reminded of it in such a visible obnoxious way. In the same way that everyone who doesn't ride a loud motorcycle absolutely hates the sound of a loud motorcycle, everyone who doesn't vape hates the smell of your vaping. Justify it to yourself if you want but you're still rude.

My ex was managing a coffee shop at the beginning of the vaping trend and for a while people would walk in vaping until the social conventions were established. Every single time there would be an argument that it wasn't smoking and every single time she had to invoke the right to refuse service and just generally ban them from the store.

Vapers are more obnoxious than smokers. (Yes, not all vapers. You, personally, whoever you are, are a great and wonderful human. This comment isn't about you.)
posted by mikesch at 11:01 AM on May 7, 2018 [17 favorites]


This is eyeroll-worthy panic.

I've only skimmed the last half of the article so far, but at the moment this seems to be the crux of the author's argument:

The potential public-health benefit of the e-cigarette is being eclipsed by the unsettling prospect of a generation of children who may really love to vape.

Oh no, young people are enjoying themselves! How Unsettling!!

I don't have a dog in this fight (I'm neither smoker nor vaper), but from what casual info I've picked up, reliable studies of nicotine haven't found very much in the way of harmful effects, even on young brains. I'll be glad to be corrected. But if my impression is reasonably accurate the level of panic exhibited in the article - and lack of actual medical evidence provided - seems overblown.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:02 AM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


Who cares about nicotine? Nicotine is not the problem. The problem is the effect on the lungs.
posted by dilaudid at 11:03 AM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


There's a couple of issues being conflated here.

First is that yes, there's a lot of vape hate because a minority of deliberately obnoxious vapers (and a larger number of vapers who wrongly imagine that they can vape anywhere without being obnoxious) who give the whole thing a bad name. You only have to encounter one jackass who fills an elevator with unicorn farts and gives you this smug "hah, I'm not smoking!" look before you find your opinion of vaping going down.

The bigger issue, I'd argue, is marketing vaping to young people.

I'm no longer a teacher, but I am hooked into teaching circles, and Juul is a problem because it's so discrete that kids can take a hit in class and not have it be immediately apparent which kid did so. Unlike the enormous cloud of unicorn farts type of vape device, the Juul delivers a minimal amount of fog, breathe that into a backpack and all you get is a mango/cherry/whatever smell permeating the classroom.

And vaping is going up among teens after a long period of smoking in general going down. There's a perception that since its less harmful then it must be ok, the fascination with the gadgetry, the wikkid kewl giant clouds of vape fog, and the fact that it pisses off adults.

Result is a large number of kids being hooked on nicotine who otherwise wouldn't be.
posted by sotonohito at 11:04 AM on May 7, 2018 [13 favorites]


And there's the other health risk with vaping - your vape pen becoming an impromptu bomb.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:09 AM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


There’s no question vaping is less harmful

There are in fact a lot of questions about that! Questions that won't be answered for decades.


No, people are trying to answer those questions right now.
The evidence keeps piling up: e-cigarettes are definitely safer than smoking
Although not harmless, the evidence is unequivocal that vaping is much safer than smoking. But misinformation and scaremongering could still be putting people off switching
Again, nobody is arguing is that vaping is perfectly safe. In an ideal world, nobody would be doing it. If you're a teenager, I would urge you to find a different way to try and look cool. But if you're currently smoking, I would urge you to switch.
posted by monospace at 11:09 AM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


Vaping, like smoking, should not be done in an enclosed space. I go to a lot of live concerts, and I can count on one hand the number of indoor shows I've been to where some jackass doesn't either start smoking (usually weed) or vaping, indoors. If you're outside, go nuts. I'll stand upwind, if I can. Even an outdoor show, I'm more open to people smoking/vaping because the natural air currents will disperse it. Indoors? No. Fuck you. You're an asshole. Stop it.
posted by SansPoint at 11:12 AM on May 7, 2018 [12 favorites]


And vaping is going up among teens after a long period of smoking in general going down.

It's a bit more nuanced than that.

From the FPP: "...according to a 2017 study by the C.D.C., about fifty per cent more high schoolers and middle schoolers vape than smoke."
posted by monospace at 11:14 AM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


Vaping smoke does concern me in that we don't know the long-term effects yet.

Yes we do. The basic ingredients are used in fog machines and asthma inhalers, both with decades of safety behind them.

I interviewed at Juul a couple months ago and it was not a positive experience. They do have a set of large open-plan offices full of busy beavers, though.
posted by rhizome at 11:17 AM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


If we're banning stuff that kids are into, can we do Juul and Fortnite at the same time?
posted by deadaluspark at 11:19 AM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


You guys are so cute! You honestly believe kids are vaping ejuice!
posted by wierdo at 11:24 AM on May 7, 2018 [18 favorites]


I think of recreational vapers like I think of Juggalos: yes, it’s mostly harmless but the entire world can see what a moron you are.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:24 AM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Indoors? No. Fuck you. You're an asshole. Stop it."

I can get behind this for vaping as long as we can do this for perfume as well. The only person that should be able to smell your perfume should be someone that is literally an inch from your perfume (ie: someone getting physically intimate with you). Oh, and if you are going to ride the subway or bus, that might be a stranger, so don't wear perfume. Can we pass a law? At least with vaping, the makers of the 'juice' generally only use FDA approved substances, not true with perfumes. I'll support laws about vaping as long as they apply to perfume as well.

Beyond that, yeah, I'll try to be courteous.

In regards to flavored juices 'hey, we outlawed flavors in tobacco, why can't we do the same with juices'. Look, it's not a cessation device for me, it's a drug I like. So yeah, I'll support no flavors in the vape juices the moment we can remove flavors from caffeine beverages and alcohol. The only legal booze would be various strengths of vodka.
posted by el io at 11:26 AM on May 7, 2018 [16 favorites]


Who cares about nicotine? Nicotine is not the problem. The problem is the effect on the lungs.

Who cares about nicotine? The companies who sell it, for one. Their entire business model is built around addiction. Nicotine is the most addictive substance known to humankind.

You know, for kids!
posted by Sys Rq at 11:27 AM on May 7, 2018 [21 favorites]


" I go to a lot of live concerts, and I can count on one hand the number of indoor shows I've been to where some jackass doesn't either start smoking (usually weed) or vaping, indoors. If you're outside, go nuts. "

The one time I snuck a cigarette indoors illegally was at a concert. I wanted to go to an outdoor section to grab a smoke, and I was told that there was no smoking section within the concert area, that I would have to leave the venue. And that I wouldn't be re-admitted. I fully agree that you should smoke outside if you are at a concert. The corollary though, is there should be a way for folks to do so, and if there isn't it's kind of on the venue that there is an indoor smoking problem.
posted by el io at 11:29 AM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


You guys are so cute! You honestly believe kids are vaping ejuice!

TFA mentions this; it sounds like there are a lot easier ways to vape THC than by modifying a Juul cartridge.

why is the word 'ejuice' so disgusting sounding?
posted by thelonius at 11:32 AM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


Who cares about nicotine? The companies who sell it, for one. Their entire business model is built around addiction. Nicotine is the most addictive substance known to humankind.

Yeah, but beyond that what is the real harm in nicotine besides cost and inviting people to stand on your lawn? I read once that heroin addiction is extremely maintainable and is only a problem when you can't get it or it's too strong. Is nicotine really any different? I dunno, I'm getting a prohibitionist vibe here.
posted by rhizome at 11:32 AM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


Nicotine itself is a carcinogen. Also, who knows what else is in that stuff, it's completely unregulated. Do whatever you want to your own body if you're an adult, but no one should be marketing and promoting this stuff just to make a few bucks and cause massive numbers of lung cancer cases down the road.
posted by miyabo at 11:34 AM on May 7, 2018 [12 favorites]


el io: If you can't go more the length of a single concert without smoking, the problem is you.
posted by SansPoint at 11:34 AM on May 7, 2018 [11 favorites]


On juices, from the Atlantic article I posted above:
A recent study [...] investigated the effects of six different e-cig vapors on tadpoles, as a proxy test for how vaping while pregnant might affect human embryos. Some of the exposed tadpoles developed “clefts” in the bone behind the upper lip, somewhat similar to cleft palate in humans. These clefts only appeared in tadpoles exposed to two particular flavors out of six tested. When the researchers exposed tadpoles to nicotine-free versions of the same flavors, those tadpoles still developed clefts in the same ratios.

[...]

If a vaper wanted to avoid a particular chemical, they’d have a hard time figuring out which flavors contain certain chemicals and which ones don’t. E-cig manufacturers are required to file their full ingredients list for each e-liquid on the market with the FDA, and they list the amounts of three chemicals that make up the bulk of most e-liquids—nicotine, glycerin, and propylene glycol—on the label. But they stop short of listing out all the chemicals that contribute to flavor. “The commercial success of a product is in its formulation (that is, its taste) and this is preciously hidden by the manufacturer,” Emanuele Ferri, the scientific director of a Milan-based vaping R&D company called TRUSTiCERT, said in an email.

[...]

This lack of transparency frustrates many researchers. “If you look at a bottle of e-liquid or the websites where they sell these things, the descriptions of the ingredients are like, ‘cookies,’” says Allyson Kennedy, a policy fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a coauthor on the tadpole paper. “You didn’t crush up cookies and put them in there. What are the chemicals that you used to create that flavor? That information I can’t seem to find anywhere.”
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 11:35 AM on May 7, 2018 [23 favorites]


perfume is in no way the same as vape clouds
That's true -- there's way more "weird artificial chemicals" in perfume.
posted by neroli at 11:36 AM on May 7, 2018 [12 favorites]


Nicotine itself is a carcinogen.

It actually is not.

From the article:
"Traditional cigarettes pair nicotine—which, contrary to common belief, does not cause cancer—with an arsenal of carcinogenic substances. "
posted by Slinga at 11:37 AM on May 7, 2018 [20 favorites]


You guys are so cute! You honestly believe kids are vaping ejuice!

TFA mentions this; it sounds like there are a lot easier ways to vape THC than by modifying a Juul cartridge.


The inventors of the Pax vaporizer are mentioned in TFA but I might have missed the part where they discuss their Pax Era product which is, by all appearances and function, the Juul for THC.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:41 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


The basic ingredients are used in fog machines and asthma inhalers, both with decades of safety behind them.

We really don't know. That word "basic," when I was specifically talking about the various companies and chemicals. cichlid ceilidh really has it.
posted by agregoli at 11:43 AM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


I like vaping, it seems like a good wholesome way for kids to blow off some steam. The threat to public health isn't nothing, but it's probably not as bad as, say, frozen pizza.

Even so, it's hard to like Juul. They sell the juice in overpriced proprietary "pods" that come only in extra-strong levels of nicotine, with a planned "light" version that will still have way higher a concentration than any of the nicotine vapes that were easily available when I used them. At least fucking Kuerig wil sell you decaf if you want it.

So in that light, adding "nicotine salts" to the mix, their main innovation, seems suspiciously like a first step down the road of adding in all the other miscellaneous chemicals the tobacco companies used to make their products more addictive.
posted by sfenders at 11:44 AM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


"Nicotine itself is a carcinogen."

Is it? Citation please? Wikipedia points to this study which says that's not exactly true.
'This lack of transparency frustrates many researchers. “If you look at a bottle of e-liquid or the websites where they sell these things, the descriptions of the ingredients are like, ‘cookies,’” says Allyson Kennedy, a policy fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a coauthor on the tadpole paper. “You didn’t crush up cookies and put them in there. What are the chemicals that you used to create that flavor? That information I can’t seem to find anywhere.”
That's a super fair critique. Ironically if you buy an ACTUAL box of cookies there's a good chance it will say something like 'natural and artificial flavors' or something similarly vague. A friend is of mine was a government toxicologist (who helped regulate ingredients for the government) and avoids foods that don't disclose what ingredients are in them.
The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).
I agree that these things should be disclosed in ejuices, but honestly I think it's more important that flavor ingredients be disclosed for processed foods. Far more people ingest unknown ingredients in processed foods than vape. I'm happy to start with regulating vape juice in this manner, but the fact that the public doesn't get to know whats in its foods is seriously more frustrating to me.

The juices I get are made from small company (as most are) that only uses FDA approved chemicals. Their position on regulation is that they welcome it, as they are playing by pretty strict rules (FDA approved chemicals, clean room environments to mix their juices, etc) and their competitors may not be; competitors that might mix something dangerous, hurt someone, and damage the entire industry. The question is, what kind of regulation; 'reasonable', 'sensible' regulation intended to help quality and ensure that ingredients and mixing is done in accordance with already existing standards, or regulations designed to kill off the entire industry (eg: making flavors illegal).

Most of the juice industry is essentially a 'cottage' industry made up of small players. The hardware largely comes from China (from brands that care about their IP and work really hard to prevent counterfeiting of their hardware).

Weirdly, the dangerous thing about vaping (that's demonstrated) is the fact that a large chunk of handheld vape machines are sort of bombs; very large concentrations of powerful batteries. So having a reputable hardware maker is *super* important. Yeah, and people's hands have been blown off. My understanding (press articles are frustratingly vague about details of the various incidents) is that people were building their own rigs and wiring their own rigs inappropriately.
posted by el io at 11:50 AM on May 7, 2018 [9 favorites]


I keep seeing a lot of comments about vaping being conclusively x, y, z. My understanding is the evidence from the scientific community is pretty “we think maybe” at this point.

Another important thing to mention about vaping safety is that the FDA doesn’t really regulate vaping devices or materials. Could there be contamination from heavy metals in that e-juice? Maybe, nobody really knows.

Concise summary on a big vaping report from the National Academy of Science:
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/health/e-cigarettes-health-evidence.html

“Substantial evidence: E-cigarette use increases risk of ever using traditional tobacco products among youths and young adults.

Moderate evidence: E-cigarettes with nicotine are more effective than e-cigarettes without nicotine for smoking cessation.

Limited evidence: E-cigarettes may be effective aids to help quit smoking.“
posted by forkisbetter at 11:55 AM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


Nicotine itself is a carcinogen.

It actually is not.


Nicotine is not a known significant carcinogen, and it is believed to perform a role in increasing tumor growth and decreasing effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs. Research on whether nicotine is a carcinogen in and of itself is pretty spotty, because it's difficult to tease out dosage from all the other stuff that tends to come with nicotine use.
posted by Etrigan at 11:55 AM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


This is one of those threads that reminds me how quickly critical thinking goes out the window when we're discussing a behavior we associate with Those People. MeFites can be every bit as reactionary and tribal as any other community—our hot buttons are just in unusual places.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:03 PM on May 7, 2018 [33 favorites]


Vape rigs have significant consequences-morbidity with being the kind of asshole who will never give up on annoying behavior when asked and will whine endlessly about it, I’ll tell you that.

Vapers who do not pull that shit, I thank you.
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


This is eyeroll-worthy panic. The vast majority of us ingest an addictive substance every day. It's called caffeine.

Caffeine Myths and Facts
If you stop taking caffeine abruptly, you may have symptoms for a day or more, especially if you consume two or more cups of coffee a day. Symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine include:

- headache
- fatigue
- anxiety
- irritability
- depressed mood
- difficulty concentrating

No doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for a few bad days. However, caffeine does not cause the severity of withdrawal or harmful drug-seeking behaviors as street drugs or alcohol. For this reason, most experts don't consider caffeine dependence a serious addiction.

My personal anecdote: I used to regularly drink two Monster Zero Ultras with breakfast and follow it up with two cups of coffee, and then have about 60 ounces of diet soda with caffeine at lunchtime, and possibly another coffee in the afternoon and/or maybe another diet soda, and then iced tea with dinner. I quite caffeine cold turkey when I realized it was starting to trigger panic attacks. There were ZERO withdrawal symptoms; I wasn't any less alert (frankly, I think I might be more alert for the most part) and haven't craved it at all.
posted by Foosnark at 12:05 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


I don't get the anti-vaping animosity.

So there's this industry that for decades lied about the lethal dangers of its highly addictive product. They paid doctors and researchers to pump out phony studies. They bought off (sorry, "lobbied") regulators to ward off life-saving public health interventions. They invested countless millions of dollars in overt and covert marketing campaigns to make smoking seem normal and cool, and they regarded teenagers as a prime demographic to target. (e.g. "Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens…The smoking patterns of teenagers are particularly important to Philip Morris.”). The result, according to the FDA, is that "Cigarette smoking causes more deaths each year than AIDS, alcohol, illegal drug use, homicide, suicide, and motor vehicle crashes combined."

Lawsuits and hard-fought anti-smoking campaigns have finally cut smoking rates and eroded the industry-crafted image of smoking as something cool, just in time for the same industry to market a new nicotine product to teens. Meanwhile, the industry (unsurprisingly) is fighting FDA proposals to limit the amount of nicotine in their products, a move they acknowledge will make them less addictive.

There's mixed evidence on the questions of whether this new product helps smokers quit and whether it turns non-smokers into smokers, and the long-term effects of vaping (including benzene exposure that can vary from one product to another) are still unknown, but given the industry's history and the known health hazards of nicotine, there's no justification for giving them a clean slate when evaluating their latest product, especially when it is somehow increasingly popular among children they can't legally sell to.

As far as I'm concerned, anti-vaping animosity that prevents vaping from becoming cool or acceptable is a public health benefit and a rational response to the way this industry has manipulated culture through advertising.
posted by This time is different. at 12:07 PM on May 7, 2018 [55 favorites]


Ass-addiction is real, people. You don't want to know about the danger of toxic vapor there.

Dr. Chuck Tingle would not lie to me!

why is the word 'ejuice' so disgusting sounding?

Because ejuice is made by dissolving email in a series of solvents, then boiling, straining, and thinning with use turpentine. It’s one of the secret shames of the Internet.

And small tags are almost as bad as vaping.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:08 PM on May 7, 2018 [9 favorites]


I think of recreational vapers like I think of Juggalos: yes, it’s mostly harmless but the entire world can see what a moron you are.

Classism has a hand in both of these overreactions so in a way it's fitting that Juggalos get brought up randomly in this discussion.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:09 PM on May 7, 2018 [29 favorites]


That having been said, this thing with kids is new. I’m certainly concerned about undeveloped minds choosing to addict themselves to an entirely unnecessary chemical that is very very hard to quit. But I keep coming back to the fact that we don’t really know that nicotine itself is all that bad, and you can choose to slowly decrease your intake over time. Is it worth it to make kids suffer as collateral damage as we transition to a cigarette-free society? I don’t know.

My son's high school is FULL of vapers and Juuler's or whatever they call themselves. His friends (who don't partake) joke during lockdown drills that these kids are nervous their lockers will be checked. I told him to start the rumor that State Police sniffer dogs can now smell Juuls. He cackled, so I think he's going to do it.

The problem is that kids get hooked on vaping when it simply isn't legal in this state. They fill the bathrooms with clouds of smoke, they talk endlessly about the hardware, and sometimes they actually vape during class. ALSO it affects athletes' performance. ALSO they kids do stupid shit for money to afford their chosen habit (as kids always do). ALSO it smells like a fire in the candy factory. ALSO they fall prey to addictive hbits.

There's really nothing defensible about vaping and Juuls for kids.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2018 [13 favorites]


Am I the only person who, when people talk about sucking on Juuls, thinks first about Pilou Asbæk and Borgen?
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:18 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


they talk endlessly about the hardware...ALSO it affects athletes' performance. ALSO they kids do stupid shit for money to afford their chosen habit (as kids always do). ALSO it smells like a fire in the candy factory. ALSO they fall prey to addictive hbits.

"The temperance movement started to wane in the 1930s, with prohibition being criticised as unhealthily distorting drinking habits"
posted by rhizome at 12:19 PM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


anti-vaping animosity that prevents vaping from becoming cool or acceptable

Have you ever actually met a teenager?
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:22 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


There's really nothing defensible about vaping and Juuls for kids.

I don't get the impression anything thinks there is. But I think it's important to make a distinction between teenagers' innate irreverence and tendency towards subversion, and the actual health risks of this apparent new "fad." Vaping is not harmless, but I'd much prefer kids suck on a Juul than on a Marlboro, and I have yet to see any conclusive evidence that one leads to the other.

The FPP notes that vaping among teens isn't even considered "cool" in the sense that smoking was for an older generation: "Teen Juul iconography radiates a dirtbag silliness. Vapes are meme-ready, funny in a way that cigarettes never were."

That's definitely the impression I get from my kid and his peers. The Juul, and vaping to them in general, seems to be a way to let off steam (heh) but it's not a "lifestyle choice."
posted by monospace at 12:26 PM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


I quit vaping about four weeks ago. Juul was my vape of choice. I was using Juul because I'd read an analytical chemistry paper that showed that Juul had no detectable benzene, which is one of the primary cancer-causing side-products of cigarettes.

Look, I loved it, I honestly did. It was wonderful, relaxing, smelled nice, was discreet. Expensive, since I was buying one $15 pack every four days or so, but a little less expensive than cigarettes. Didn't make me cough. Didn't make me smell. The little device was so pleasant, having the ability to just puff on it and suddenly relax was absolutely wonderful. The vapor looked cool. I felt sexy when I blew it over my shoulder (though I was always VERY CAREFUL to not exhale vapor near other people). It was my very good friend through many a late night in the lab.

But for all the reasons that people have brought up in this thread (and I'm honestly surprised that there's so much animosity here against people who are saying that vaping is probably not a good idea) I decided that I had to quit. I understand what kinds of claims we can make without data and what kinds of claims we can't make. We cannot say that vaping is safe. There are really basically NO DATA about longterm effects of inhaling nicotine-laced propylene glycol, vegetable oil, or any other carrier of nicotine. There can't be. It's too new. But you know what we do know? This product is brought to you by the same people who brought you cigarettes and chewing tobacco; the same people who lied for decades and decades about the health risks of tobacco; the same people who used every ounce of power and influence they had to continue having the ability to sell atrociously harmful substances at a gargantuan profit.

Hey, maybe vaping is fine, maybe it's totally safe. But the guy telling you that it is safe is the same guy that told you cigarettes were healthy for you. He's got no credibility.

So I decided to quit; it wasn't making me sick but it was really stressful on my relationship, and I definitely valued my relationship more than nicotine, right? RIGHT? I decided to quit no fewer than five times, probably more. And I tried, I really did. I tried cold turkey, I tried nicotine lozenges, I tried just weaning myself, and I couldn't. I'd throw away the vape pen only to buy another a few days later ($70, to get it with a cartridge pack to). I'd get that itch and I would NEED to vape.

Goddamn nicotine.

I finally realized I was going to need to do something else. What worked for me (YMMV) was TBX-free strips from Redwood Scientific. Here's a review on highya.com that I partially relied on to make this decision, along with reading several clinical studies such as this one that compared it to nicotine replacement therapies, and one that compared it to placebo, both favorably. The active ingredient, cytisine, is a partial agonist for the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. It stimulates those receptors and in so doing reduces the craving for nicotine, but it is not itself addictive. Essentially, it's the same thing as Chantix. I used one week's supply in the first day. About four days later I was using the strips much less often. Two weeks later I wasn't using them at all, and I was still not vaping. This morning I heard an NPR story about vaping and realized that I hadn't thought about vaping since yesterday morning-- the first time I've gone twenty four hours without thinking about nicotine in about two years.

So this has worked! For now. For about a month. So far. But what we know from all the studies about nicotine cessation is that more than half of people who quit using nicotine will relapse within a year. (The studies on cytisine indicate that it gives you a bit more of a fighting chance, with only 40% of people relapsing within a year.) It's incredibly addictive and that addiction is incredibly long lived. I know that nicotine products are always, always going to be a siren song.

If you *must* use nicotine, for god's sake don't inhale it. Use a lozenge or gum if you must, or a patch. But even that -- my friends, my dudes, my excellent people -- even that is really no good. Nicotine isn't carcinogenic itself, but the risk of stroke, the risk of heart disease, these are not nothings. Caffeine's addictiveness and health risks just do not compare to nicotine, it's categorically different. There is just no point in engaging in something so very dangerous for a mere and ephemeral physical experience.

Vaping is not harmless, but I'd much prefer kids suck on a Juul than on a Marlboro, and I have yet to see any conclusive evidence that one leads to the other.

Oh no?

You might want to dig into the National Academies' report. Or just hit the highlights. I quote:
For youth and young adults, there is substantial evidence
that e-cigarette use increases the risk of ever
using combustible tobacco cigarettes. For e-cigarette
users who have also ever used combustible tobacco
cigarettes, there is moderate evidence that e-cigarette
use increases the frequency and intensity of subsequent
combustible tobacco cigarette smoking.

But don't take these learned people's word for it, take my personal anecdotal evidence-- nicotine leads to nicotine and nothing else, and many of the times that I relapsed after throwing away my Juul, I considered just buying a pack of cigarettes ($10) instead of buying a new vape pen & cartridges ($70). The only reason I didn't was because I couldn't hide that I was smoking. But if I hadn't had a need to hide it?
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 12:32 PM on May 7, 2018 [61 favorites]


This time is different pretty much covered it. Golden Holocaust should be required reading here for anyone that thinks vaping is in any way of form progress compared to an outright stop to smoking. Then it was flogging candy cigarettes to get the kids into it, now it's pushing Juul through Instagram.

The companies in this industry want to get your kids hooked on nicotine, they always have. They'll push bad science and hand-wavy unknowns to convince you that it's "safe". It's not, directly or indirectly, and they're just after your money, and they want you hooked for life, and they don't care that it will kill you as long as the industry is one of growth.
posted by lawrencium at 12:34 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


The FPP notes that vaping among teens isn't even considered "cool" in the sense that smoking was for an older generation ... vaping to them in general, seems to be a way to let off steam (heh) but it's not a "lifestyle choice."

That's what every generation has said about smoking, because advertising works.
posted by Etrigan at 12:34 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


(didn't know it was made by the Pax vape people)

Interesting I did not realize this was the same company either, but my immediate reaction on seeing a photo of these things is "it's the Pax of ecigs". Didn't they hire a bunch of Apple designers or something? That is how they market themselves, for the Pax products at least.

Juul is a problem because it's so discrete that kids can take a hit in class and not have it be immediately apparent which kid did so

Well as a fully formed adult who lives in a cannabis legal state this is the exact appeal of the Pax products. It doesn't look like hand-blown glass robot dick, it doesn't stink, and it's discrete. This is what all the professional "I never really smoked weed before, but hey isn't this technology neato" people use. The people who would never buy a bag of bud, but will order $75 (plus ~30% tax now!) pods via Uber-like delivery app buy.


Actually comparing the difference between the reaction to Juul vs Pax is quite interesting.

I buy my Pax pods at a state licensed medical establishment yet the concern here is over the unknown health effects of vaping. In CA the smoking age is 21 but anyone over 18 can walk into a store now and buy weed - 18 year olds are still in high school - so weed is less tightly controlled than tobacco products. Liberals love cannabis legalization but are on the warpath to ban anything vape or tobacco related - we just banned flavored tobacco products (I have yet to see any evidence Oakland corner stores are going to stop selling blunt wraps any time soon).

I don't have a lot of interaction with teenagers but when I'm in line at the dispensary, The Kids are buying yuge bags of whatever strain of the week is, stuff like Pax is "corporate Mom weed".

Same company, same product essentially just different cartridges, completely different reaction and perception.
posted by bradbane at 12:35 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


Am I the only person who, when people talk about sucking on Juuls, thinks first about Pilou Asbæk and Borgen?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:18 PM on May 7


THERE IS NO DATA ONLY JUUL
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:38 PM on May 7, 2018 [40 favorites]


“Smoking is gross,” a high schooler said. “Juuling is really what’s up.”

The epitaph for Earth has been written. Prepare the moon as a headstone.
posted by Splunge at 12:40 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


According to the CDC, fewer kids than ever smoke cigarettes. Even if it's true that vaping leads to smoking for some kids, the overall trend is down. It certainly isn't true that vaping leads to more kids smoking.
posted by monospace at 12:48 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


It certainly isn't true that vaping leads to more kids smoking.

Well, no, that's not certain, and unfortunately it's looking more like vaping *does* lead to more kids smoking. I'm just going to keep quoting it: For youth and young adults, there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases the risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes. So findeth the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics panel, read all of it here.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 12:52 PM on May 7, 2018 [13 favorites]


From the Guardian article I linked to above:
"A primary reason for caution in many countries is the fear that vaping will lead to smoking, particularly in young people. This year we did see research suggesting that some teenagers experimenting with vaping go on to smoke when followed up a year later, and this included studies from the UK. There seems little doubt that there are groups of young people susceptible to both. Yet these studies can’t prove that it was the act of trying an e-cigarette that lead to subsequent smoking - many other factors could explain this, including the simple fact that tobacco is still widely available. 2017 saw the publication of the world’s largest study to date of young people and vaping, including over 60,000 teenagers. It found that while experimentation with these products was occurring, regular use by teens who had never smoked remains very low, at less than 1%. Meanwhile in the UK and many other countries like the USA, youth smoking rates continue to decline at an encouraging pace. If vaping was causing smoking, these trends would reverse."
posted by monospace at 12:53 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


why is the word 'ejuice' so disgusting sounding?

Because ejuice is made by dissolving email in a series of solvents, then boiling, straining, and thinning with use turpentine. It’s one of the secret shames of the Internet.


Because your brain knows it's only a matter of time before someone markets "EJUCULATE: the ejuice that changes the flavor of your sperm!"
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:54 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


but given the industry's history and the known health hazards of nicotine, there's no justification for giving them a clean slate when evaluating their latest product, especially when it is somehow increasingly popular among children they can't legally sell to.

Hell yes. The smoking industry can die in a fire, please.
posted by agregoli at 12:55 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


Am I the only person who, when people talk about sucking on Juuls, thinks first about Pilou Asbæk and Borgen?

My first thought was in relation to Johannes Juul, one of the foremost designers of the modern three bladed (or Danish concept) wind turbine. So I guess you have been out-danished GenjiandProust. How do you like them pastries?
posted by biffa at 12:59 PM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


"EJUCULATE: the ejuice that changes the flavor of your sperm!"

Just eat some mangoes and skip the asparagus.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:02 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Have you ever actually met a teenager?

Well, I think people of all ages should reject attempts to make vaping normal or good. But insofar as we're talking about teenagers, I don't think kids today are so radically different from kids of previous generations. Absent evidence to the contrary, I'd bet that kids today would be susceptible to methods that were effective at reducing teen smoking rates in the past.

Similarly, I'd bet that the same methods that promoted smoking would be effective at promoting vaping. The tobacco industry's efforts at product placement in movies are well-known, and the only people who ever denied they were effective at making cigarettes cool were the people paying Humphrey Bogart to smoke Lucky Strikes.
posted by This time is different. at 1:05 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Juul is not the same company as Pax (anymore), they've been completely spun out.
posted by rhizome at 1:07 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


 random people aren't momentarily discomfitted

How I wish it were momentary for me. Being in the same room as a vaper induces a migraine-level headache (complete with shimmery vision) that takes an hour or so to go away.
posted by scruss at 1:09 PM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


This time is different, the point behind my glib quip was simply to question the idea that anti-$thing efforts ever make $thing seem LESS cool to young people in their rebellious phase.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


The smoking industry can die in a fire, please.

But only in the designated area, of course.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:17 PM on May 7, 2018 [11 favorites]


THERE IS NO DATA ONLY JUUL
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:38 PM on May 7


Well played, HP, well played.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


While I will advocate for my use of nicotine, I'm absolutely against the marketing of drugs towards folks that are underage; that should be illegal. But to be consistent (I'm not joking here), I sincerely believe that caffeine should not be marketed towards children at all either; it should be made clear that Coke/Pepsi/etc are not for kids. Caffeine (which I use on the regular, I have a cup of coffee sitting next to me) seems to get a free ride as 'not really a drug' when it comes to the marketing to kids.

In some ways, I have hope that this new delivery system will help us re-evaluate things we've taken for granted that are pretty shitty. Food companies don't need to list the flavorings in their food, perfume can be poisonous (and made up of mystery ingredients that we are all subjected to), and drugs are pushed on children ruthlessly (seriously, how is coke even allowed to be sold to children, let alone in schools).

Regarding the tobacco companies; they firmly insist that they don't market to children. But they do so openly in 'developing' countries - the same organizations. The one time I ever wrote a politician it was to a Republican senator thanking him for his condemnations on cigarette companies marketing to children overseas. I told him my politics didn't align with his, but thanked him for taking a stand that he didn't need to take and didn't further his own career (Republican voters aren't known for caring about people in other countries).

But right now, tobacco companies are not dominating this industry, and conflating 'big tobacco' and the vape industry is to misunderstand the current economics behind whats going on. They're trying, they *want* to dominate the industry, and there is a reasonable chance that attempts to regulate vaping will be spearheaded by the tobacco companies attempting to wrestle the profits from mom-and-pops that are currently (and weirdly) dominating the 'juice' market.
posted by el io at 1:27 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


Your need to never be exposed to "weird smells" is not really anyone else's concern.

Thanks, Steve Martin.
posted by amtho at 1:31 PM on May 7, 2018


Weirdly, the dangerous thing about vaping (that's demonstrated) is the fact that a large chunk of handheld vape machines are sort of bombs; very large concentrations of powerful batteries.

So is your mobile phone.
posted by walrus at 1:33 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


unfortunately it's looking more like vaping *does* lead to more kids smoking.

That really is not what the research you keep citing says: "For youth and young adults, there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases the risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes."

That is emphatically not the same as "more kids are smoking." In fact, the opposite is true: fewer kids than ever are smoking, in spite of vaping being a bit of a fad right now.
posted by monospace at 1:39 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


For youth and young adults, there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases the risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes.

Bear in mind that "ever using" means taking at least one puff on a lit cigarette at some point, if only to throw it away in disgust and never do it again. It still may seem counter-intuitive that prior use of an all-round better alternative could somehow increase that risk, until you remember that if you're going outside (for example) to vape, there's a substantial chance (depending on the social milieu but you know, pretty likely) that you're going to be standing directly next to all the people who smoke as well. Where I grew up, going bowling or playing pool would probably be even more risky.

But the guy telling you that it is safe is the same guy that told you cigarettes were healthy for you. He's got no credibility.

The guy who sold me my first vape rig was very much in the anti-big-tobacco camp which still dominates the scene, at least around where I live. He did not tell me it was safe. He told me there's probably going to be some non-zero level of aldehydes and other nasty stuff in it, so use at your own risk, dude.
posted by sfenders at 1:41 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


I took it as "The guy" there refers to the industry, not literally some guy you know.
posted by agregoli at 1:43 PM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


My impression of the industry as a whole is that this one guy I know is much more representative of it than is the cliche of some old-school Marlboro marketing exec, even once you factor in the rise of the Juul. It's probably too much to hope it can stay that way for long, though.
posted by sfenders at 1:47 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


MeFites can be every bit as reactionary and tribal as any other community—our hot buttons are just in unusual places.

Yes.

I quite caffeine cold turkey when I realized it was starting to trigger panic attacks. There were ZERO withdrawal symptoms; I wasn't any less alert (frankly, I think I might be more alert for the most part) and haven't craved it at all.

That's why I'm always bugged by people's tendency to try and make everything one-size-fits-all with one correct answer for everyone.

I would be completely non-functional if I quit caffeine cold turkey, and I don't mean that in a cute haha way. It is an addiction I have to maintain carefully.

I have and do smoke cigars and pipes a lot at times for over 20 years, too much, and it definitely can be a habit, but I periodically stop for periods when I feel I'm getting carried away. I've never felt any sort of symptoms of stopping, so much that I'm not really sure what other people are experiencing. The only thing I've experienced is thinking "I'd like a cigar" on the level of "I'd like a cookie", which is for me not a high level.

If I don't have any tobacco in the house It's too much trouble to go get it. On the other hand, I'd crawl to the store to get coffee.
posted by bongo_x at 1:48 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


It's a product designed to get you physically addicted, I'm not betting their executives are pure of heart.
posted by agregoli at 1:49 PM on May 7, 2018 [12 favorites]


Your need to never be exposed to "weird smells" is not really anyone else's concern.

In January, I was typing away in a hotel conference room where the second day of a work meeting was taking place. I was there to take notes, so I was seated next to the main presenters, as that usually makes it easier to hear what's being said.

As the day wore on, the presenter directly to my right began vaping furiously, producing big, white, billowing clouds of whatever nicotine product was loaded into his vape. I spent an hour tearing up and stifling a cough. Because of the differential in power involved, I did not feel comfortable interrupting the meeting to ask him to stop. Fortunately, someone senior to me did so at the next break.

This past weekend, a guy in a crowded subway station vaped in my face. Twice.

I'm a former smoker. I'm sympathetic to the people who want to use devices to help them quit. But it's worth considering the fact that vapes are producing new generations of addicts, and that their long-term health effects are still somewhat uncertain.

Also, as always: if you're going to do something that could impose upon or affect others, maybe try not to be a dick.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2018 [23 favorites]


So is your mobile phone.

LiPo batteries are dangerous for sure, but not many people are using their mobiles to power a heating element next to their face.
posted by bradbane at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


While different people react differently to various addictive compounds, it is generally accepted in the medical community that nicotine is one of the more difficult addictive compounds to quit. While, in general, caffeine is unpleasant to quit but does not involve the same sort of addictive behavior we see from other substances.

For that reason it doesn't seem unreasonable to argue that it's wise to keep children from developing a nicotine addiction while they're in their younger, less thoughtful, years. Later if they choose to become addicts that is, as adults, their choice. But it seems as if it ought to be noncontroversial to state that it is wrong of tobacco companies to market nicotine to children.

What disturbs me is that apparently this is a controversial statement for some people here on MeFi. At the very least some users see discouraging children from using nicotine until adulthood is seen by some users here as a covert attack on themselves or their access to nicotine.

This is conflated with other, to my mind distracting and non-central issues, such as the social acceptability of vaping, or the relative negative health outcomes of vaping vs. traditional tobacco use.

If I can, I'd like to ask to set that aside and see if someone who feels threatened or disturbed by efforts to curb or eliminate vaping in children to amplify on their position. What's the deal there? Why shouldn't we be discouraging nicotine use among children?
posted by sotonohito at 1:57 PM on May 7, 2018 [17 favorites]


Let’s talk about how kids these days are analyzing the meaning of Juuling and are hilarious and smart about it (from the FTA):
In January, a junior at Cornell named Jason Jeong published a newspaper column called “The Juul Manifesto.” (“A spectre is haunting Cornell—the spectre of the Juul.”) He argued that the Juul represents his generation’s “tech-savvy ingenuity when it comes to making bad decisions.”
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:59 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


not many people are using their mobiles to power a heating element next to their face

Not specifically, no, but that's what they're doing anyway.
posted by rhizome at 2:06 PM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


What disturbs me is that apparently this is a controversial statement for some people here on MeFi.

Are we reading the same thread? There is nobody here arguing that marketing nicotine to children is a good idea.

And no vape manufacturers are doing so either. But you know, teenagers are rebellious and they are inventive. Nobody was allowed to sell me cigarettes when I was 15, but I still managed to get my hands on some.

I do not advocate vaping for kids, but in terms of harm reduction, I’d rather see them vape than smoke. And research bears out that not only do very few of them “move up” to smoking, but smoking among teens in general is way down, so excuse me when I think this new moral panic is way, um, overblown.
posted by monospace at 2:12 PM on May 7, 2018 [12 favorites]


I've been thinking that you might be reading another thread because there really hasn't been any panic, moral or otherwise here.
posted by agregoli at 2:15 PM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


This time Joe Camel is fruit flavoured.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


I’m referring to the moral panic described in the linked articles of the FPP, but there’s definitely an echo of that in some of the comments here as well.
posted by monospace at 2:21 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Cool, we get how you feel.
posted by agregoli at 2:23 PM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


Even if it's true that vaping leads to smoking for some kids, the overall trend is down. It certainly isn't true that vaping leads to more kids smoking.
That is emphatically not the same as "more kids are smoking." In fact, the opposite is true: fewer kids than ever are smoking, in spite of vaping being a bit of a fad right now.

I took "vaping leads to more kids smoking" to pretty obviously mean that the percentage of kids smoking would be lower than it is now but for the increase in vaping, all else being equal. That's compatible with a low or even falling rate of smoking among teenagers. We want smoking rates to fall, and the concern is that the increase in vaping will have upward pressure on smoking rates. Whether they actually have such pressure is a matter of debate---people have cited good research on both sides---but nobody is denying that the percentage of kids smoking today is lower than in the recent past. They are denying that vaping has no effect on the percentage of kids who smoke. I don't see why anyone would contest the first statement or confuse it with the second.
posted by This time is different. at 2:30 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


If I can, I'd like to ask to set that aside and see if someone who feels threatened or disturbed by efforts to curb or eliminate vaping in children to amplify on their position.

So anyway, I may not have been typing entirely in earnest when I suggested that vaping was good clean healthy fun for kids. Discouraging children (and everyone else) from getting addicted to nicotine does seem like a generally good idea to the extent that it can be done without too many undesirable side-effects, and I doubt you'll find anyone to argue against that idea. Even the typical proprietor of a vape shop (as surveyed in my 2012-2016 tour of vape shops across Canada) is pretty much in favour of there being a legal age limit. They want to keep things sufficiently respectable that they can remain in business, and they are not generally unwilling to think of the children.

I have no idea how they might feel about Juul, but personally I think it's a great argument for putting limits on how much nicotine is allowed in off-the-shelf juice. They've gone too far. At those levels they must be getting close to actual cigarette levels of addictiveness, it's just madness. An outright ban on the sale of anything more than 20mg/ml (or some more scientifically chosen level) unless you have a prescription would seem ideal, if only it were possible to get a prescription for the people who'd need one. I imagine there are some such people, remember that this stuff routinely saves people's lives.

Anyway I don't know what the best approach would be, but it isn't Chuck Schumer's simultaneously draconian and ineffectual idea of banning all the flavors he considers childish in the name of saving the children. Taste buds are not unique to children, and mint flavor is not the problem.
posted by sfenders at 2:32 PM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm having lots of flashbacks to the widespread (teenage) use of snus when I was a high school exchange student in Norway. It wasn't uncommon for people to use it in class, or share it in the cafeteria, or laughingly describe its addictive properties while packing their upper lip.

As I understand it, snus probably carries fewer risks (not to mention fewer secondhand risks) than Juuling. It's still legally controversial and banned plenty of places (like the EU), though.
posted by mosst at 2:40 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


They are denying that vaping has no effect on the percentage of kids who smoke.

Okay, if I’m parsing the double negative correctly, “they” are saying that vaping has an “effect” on the percentage of kids who smoke, even if we all agree on the fact that teenage smoking is as low as it’s ever been.

I don’t doubt there is an effect. But I’m guessing, entirely unscientifically, that the effect is that some kids who might otherwise be smoking Camels are now puffing on Juuls.
posted by monospace at 2:49 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Okay, if I’m parsing the double negative correctly, “they” are saying that vaping has an “effect” on the percentage of kids who smoke, even if we all agree on the fact that teenage smoking is as low as it’s ever been.

Yes, that's exactly it, where "effect" is a relative increase. I don't know why you kept interpreting "vaping leads to more kids smoking" as anything but that.
posted by This time is different. at 2:51 PM on May 7, 2018


Fewer teenagers than ever are smoking. If your argument is that the percentage would be even smaller if it wasn’t for vaping: there’s no evidence for that. It might be that without ecigs these kids would never have picked up the habit, or it might be that without ecigs they would be smoking actual cigarettes instead.
posted by monospace at 3:01 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


Are we reading the same thread? There is nobody here arguing that marketing nicotine to children is a good idea.

And no vape manufacturers are doing so either.


Flavoured cigarettes were banned a few years back because they were basically Karcinogens 4 Kids. Vapes come in many delicious flavours. I’m sure this is for completely unrelated reasons.

As I understand it, snus probably carries fewer risks (not to mention fewer secondhand risks) than Juuling

Fewer than smoking, but definitely not fewer than Juuling. Smokeless tobacco is the surest way, besides smoking, to get mouth cancer. Tobacco is tobacco; it’s all carcinogenic, no matter how you put it in your body. You’ll see plenty of Big Tobacco propaganda about “Zero deaths from mouth cancer!” — well, sure, but people still get it. Mouth cancer is less fatal than lung cancer because: 1. people tend to notice their face rotting off and see a doctor about it, and 2. the mouth is not a vital organ, so even if it is chock full o’ cancer, it can safely be removed, just like a testicle or uterus. Snus, because you (yuck) swallow the juice, also has the fun risk of esophageal cancer. And pancreatic! (That’s the worst one!) There are also many non-cancer risks, like gum disease, tooth decay, and bone loss.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:03 PM on May 7, 2018 [9 favorites]


If your argument is that the percentage would be even smaller if it wasn’t for vaping: there’s no evidence for that

The evidence is literally the study you keep pooh-poohing by misreading [f]or youth and young adults, there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases the risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes to mean "The percentage of kids smoking today is higher than in the past." That's not the only study of course, and the one linked in the Guardian piece came to the opposite conclusion. But it's just false to say there's no evidence.
posted by This time is different. at 3:09 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


Smokeless tobacco is the surest way, besides smoking, to get mouth cancer.

Quite surprisingly, this is not true. There's a lot of research showing no increase in cancer mortality among Swedish snus users, no greater incidence of oral/neck/throat cancers, etc.
posted by entropone at 3:15 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't know why this is the hill I'm trying to die on - I'm no fan of the stuff - but snus is a particularly mild form of smokeless tobacco given its low levels of nitrosamines. This 2014 overview from the New York Times seems fairly balanced:
The short answer is that snus appears to increase the risk of mouth cancer and some other cancers, but modestly in comparison with the array of lethal risks posed by smoking. Many studies have been done on the question, but as in many fields that involve complex questions and human subjects, the research is imperfect. For instance, some research concluding virtually no oral cancer risk from snus was funded by Swedish Match itself.

Other research showing increased cancer risk is decades old and involves patient populations using oral tobacco products with far more cancer-causing toxins than current products. And still other research doesn’t adjust for the cancer-causing impact of cigarette smoking, which is often done in tandem with using snus.

...

One independent overview of the snus research, published in 2008 in The Lancet Oncology, a journal, summarized findings of three previous studies — two from Sweden and one from Norway — and also found little to no increased risk of oral cancer. The Lancet summary did find that use of snus contributed to a slightly elevated risk of pancreatic and esophageal cancer.
It's hard to say that it's safer than vaping, but my point (that I didn't reach very well) is that the risks somewhat track with those of vaping - with fewer secondhand risks - and yet it's still very controversial and faces complete bans in plenty of places.

I don't smoke, never have, because (among other reasons) the industry is downright vile but painting with too broad a brush doesn't do anyone any good and allows people to dismiss otherwise valid points all too easily.
posted by mosst at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Here's a fun few bullet points from Reynold's American in their statements about "transforming tobacco":
  • Because of their potentially lower health risks when compared to cigarettes, vapor products should be taxed and regulated differently than cigarettes.
  • High taxes and severe restrictions on how vapor products are marketed and where they can be used may deter smokers from considering switching from cigarettes to vapor products. This may result in adult smokers continuing to smoke cigarettes, the highest-risk form of tobacco.
  • Governments and public health officials should be required to communicate accurate, useful information about the comparative health risks between cigarettes and vapor products so that adult tobacco consumers can make informed decisions.

They're always careful to say that there's no clear scientific evidence that vaping is less harmful than tobacco cigarettes--because again, it's just far too early to know about long term harm--but they're very willing to say that vape products should be taxed less; marketing restrictions should be relaxed for vapes; the government should be forced to tell you that vapes are safer than cigarettes.

That's not surprising -- selling nicotine is their business. They've also got a bullet point about snuff/snus being less dangerous than cigarettes, but they're not going all in on snuff marketing and taxation, and I think it's because they know that the public's attitudes towards vaping are significantly different than the public's attitudes towards any sort of tobacco product. (on preview: also because, as SysRq notes, we do know some of the health outcomes of Snus.) This is a viable area for growth in the industry. Reynold's American is of course the company that brought us Joe Camel; they also get the largest market share of e-cigarettes in the UK.

monospace, I hear you on the harm reduction. YES, harm reduction is good. But rationalizing about harm reduction is also what kept me ripping cotton for two years--"At least I'm not smoking, and this is soothing-- this is actually self-care if you think about it." And I am reading the Guardian article you linked and some of the research the author has done (my above link about market share is hers, too). I do not share your optimism about vaping. We do not know the risks. I *suppose* if pressed, I would agree that I'd rather have teenagers vaping than smoking, if forced into that dichotomy, but only because there's still a *chance* that vaping isn't as harmful as smoking. We seriously do not know that it isn't as harmful as smoking. It could turn out to be much worse than smoking. It could turn out to be practically harmless. We don't know and they're out there trying to convince us that it's safe.

This isn't moral panic. I'm not outraged that these kids are doing something unhealthy to their bodies. I'm not shaming them. I'm upset by tobacco companies pushing the line that vaping is less harmful than smoking because it increases their profits.

Also I FUCKING MISS VAPING. siiiiiggghhhh

I don't know why this is the hill I'm trying to die on
It's okay to want the facts to be straight.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 3:18 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


I quite caffeine cold turkey when I realized it was starting to trigger panic attacks. There were ZERO withdrawal symptoms

Well, here's another anecdote - I quit smoking cold turkey and had no withdrawal symptoms. That was 14 years ago. I quit caffeine (briefly!) and wanted to murder someone.
posted by AFABulous at 3:18 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


There are vape stores everywhere in the western states. But there are also many, many signs and prohibitions. In the complex where I live, there are "No Smoking or Vaping within 10 feet of any structure" signs everywhere. There are fold out signs on the sidewalks in front of many businesses with similar signs. I think it's a state law? Gist: vaping is treated exactly the same as tobacco.

"Blow it down my sleeve" does *not* immediately disperse a vapor cloud. I have doubts about kids doing this in school or in any business....
posted by CrowGoat at 3:23 PM on May 7, 2018


To follow on from what this time is different is saying: If we have good evidence to believe that e-cigarettes increase a teenager's risk of smoking combustible tobacco, and we have good evidence to believe that e-cigarette use is increasing, we should actually predict that smoking rates will rise. Perhaps people will use e-cigarettes more often than they use combustible cigarettes. But that's not harm reduction if there are some portion of folks who might not have used cigarettes had they not vaped. Which is what increased risk means.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Let me correct myself: We should actually predict that smoking rates will not continue to decline as quickly as they are now, ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL. There could be countervailing forces that would keep smoking rates in decline. But we should expect that increased vaping rates will have upward pressure on the rate of smoking.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 3:27 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


I know someone who works very hard for liberal causes, but also works very hard against pot reform because they hate the smell.
posted by bongo_x at 12:26 PM on May 7 [2 favorites +] [!]


I'm against my neighbors smoking pot because I am immigrant and testing positive can get me deported by the federal government regardless of local legality.
posted by srboisvert at 3:28 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


I came back here to say something different than this, but… why would you test positive from your neighbors' pot smoking?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:31 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


You know that in five years when the vape has settled, the cig companies will introduce non-flavored cloudless vaping and we'll then have to deal with an epidemic of passive-aggressive sighing.
posted by FJT at 3:35 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


I don’t really have a horse in the vape debate (though I live in a college town and there are suddenly loads of vape shops), but if we’re getting angry about things that smell weird, you can put me down in the “Patchouli Ruins Everything” camp.
posted by thivaia at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2018 [9 favorites]


A classic scene at the school where I work is the trio of campus visitors strolling down the sidewalk: two parents, and an arm's length ahead or behind them, their kid hiding in a shoal of vaping fog.

All the kids in that Instagram page look like they secretly wish they played the clarinet.
posted by lagomorphius at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2018


but… why would you test positive from your neighbors' pot smoking?

Only Ross Rebagliati knows.
posted by sfenders at 4:13 PM on May 7, 2018


Seriously, though. I smoke pot, is there something I should know about? Because I don't want my stoner ways to get someone deported, you know? But I can't think of what the issue would be.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:17 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Can we please be mindful of the homophobia and/or misogyny involved in making disparaging remarks about 'sucking dick', robots or otherwise, and so on?
posted by hoyland at 4:34 PM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


You know that in five years when the vape has settled, the cig companies will introduce non-flavored cloudless vaping and we'll then have to deal with an epidemic of passive-aggressive sighing.

You mean the Nicotrol?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:47 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


but… why would you test positive from your neighbors' pot smoking?

I live in a 600 sq ft apartment. I can practically guess what they eat from the smell of their morning dumps.
posted by srboisvert at 4:51 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]



but… why would you test positive from your neighbors' pot smoking?

I live in a 600 sq ft apartment. I can practically guess what they eat from the smell of their morning dumps.


Giant HEPA air filter. Do not hesitate.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:01 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Well… OK then. I'm still not really sure that's
how it works, but I guess I can at least understand why it might make you anxious. I'm certainly not going to try and tell you to feel differently about it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:03 PM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


In CA the smoking age is 21 but anyone over 18 can walk into a store now and buy weed - 18 year olds are still in high school - so weed is less tightly controlled than tobacco products.

Nope, the measure that legalized it made the age 21.

( I'm pretty sure?)
posted by atoxyl at 5:24 PM on May 7, 2018


My concern with kids vaping is not that they're getting addicted to nicotine, which, as mentioned, has few problematic effects on its own, but that they're getting addicted to a $4-$8/day substance that requires a large tech-focused corporation to manufacture. And Juul, unlike many types of vape setups, doesn't offer non-nicotine pods. (This may be part of the appeal with kids: if you're using Juul, everyone knows you're using "the grownup stuff.") If they don't have access to a vape store, the lower-tech device that will appease the addiction, available worldwide, is a strong carcinogen.

I get that there may be no way to limit asshole vapers without banning vaping in buildings, because we're very fond of zero-tolerance policies rather than any rule that requires someone to say, "you there, you are being a jerk; stop that."

(Age of legal weed use in CA is 21. Not that that stops anyone younger from getting it, but it does sharply limit over-the-counter sales to high schoolers.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:35 PM on May 7, 2018 [8 favorites]


gum user here, have been for years. i routinely search for new studies on the danger of nicotine absent any vapor or smoke or heat, but havent seen much to concern me yet. it's not gross, not harmful to others around me (in fact, people just assume it's normal mint gum, which is what it smells like), and provides a nice mild stimulant effect. it's expensive, but not overly so. i highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys nicotine and doesnt want to die.

that said, i do agree of course that tobacco companies engaged in mass murder, and harm of vaping is still unknown, since it's still going through one's lungs, which cant be great for those alveoli.
posted by wibari at 5:46 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hey, maybe vaping is fine, maybe it's totally safe. But the guy telling you that it is safe is the same guy that told you cigarettes were healthy for you. He's got no credibility.

I get this. But the guys telling us it's wrong and/or dangerous sound like all the other puritans who lobby against anything pleasurable. The arguments sound exactly like those against sex or marijuana. They also have no credibility!
posted by great_radio at 7:06 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


"you shouldn't have sex because you'll make god cry!"

"any evidence for that?"

"uhhhh..."

"you shouldn't smoke pot because reefer madness!"

"any evidence for that that isn't racist nonsense?"

"uhhhhh...."

"you shouldn't smoke or chew or vape or otherwise ingest any tobacco product or derivative because of a very real risk of cancer and addiction! Also the people making these products have a very long history of poisoning the public and covering it up!"

"any evidence for that?"

"YES TONS OF EVIDENCE!"

/end scene.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:35 PM on May 7, 2018 [19 favorites]


I'd say the toxicologists have credibility. And everyone should be in support of consumers and health researchers having access to complete e-cig fluid ingredient lists. Go get your (informed) rocks off.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 7:37 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


I don't think anyone's claiming nicotine is not addictive.
posted by AFABulous at 7:48 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Nope, the measure that legalized it made the age 21.

Ah I believe you are right, they changed it to 21 for recreational. I think 18 year olds can still get medical recommendations, which is simply a matter of paying a fee.

But anyways, I just find it interesting how these almost identical devices are treated simply because of what is put in them. Pax is the "healthy", sanitized way of ingesting cannabis for adults who roll their eyes at bongs, Juuls are a plot by big tobacco to market an unproven/unsafe technology to children.

It does kind of seem like a moral panic, this is the millionth editorial I've read about Juuls specifically

Flavoured cigarettes were banned a few years back because they were basically Karcinogens 4 Kids. Vapes come in many delicious flavours. I’m sure this is for completely unrelated reasons.

Do yall feel the same way about flavored alcohol, it's not like there is any shortage of flavored or sweetened booze out there. I mean I'm not a big fan of Ice Cream Vodka but Grand Marnier is pretty good in a margarita....
posted by bradbane at 7:50 PM on May 7, 2018


"YES TONS OF EVIDENCE!"

Cite?
posted by monospace at 7:50 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Of all the cyberpunk things I might have expected to show up in reality, we get robotic cigarettes.
posted by q*ben at 7:52 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


"[...] the people making these products have a very long history of poisoning the public and covering it up!”

idk the current big players (i’ve been more and less involved with em over the past decade), but generally big tobacco has been pro-regulation. they have the market sewn up, any changes in consumer behavior represent risk.. more regulations on new products only help them, really. which is to say, the argument that ecigs have similar risk to tobacco is a pro-big-tobacco argument. i think most of the people pushing unrealistic fantasies wrt the risks of vaping have been “enthusiastic” entrepreneurs and nicced up newbs tbqh.

the sane people have been asking for ingredients to be properly identified/otherwise regulated forever. there are probably still juices on the shelf with diacetyl for all i know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Of all the cyberpunk things I might have expected to show up in reality, we get robotic cigarettes.

most of society’s caught up in a crazy facebook-borne nam-shub, there’s that.. and electric rental scooters.?
posted by polyhedron at 8:14 PM on May 7, 2018


"YES TONS OF EVIDENCE!"

Cite?


CDC good enough for you?more CDC on the smokeless stuff.

srsly never thought I'd be asked for citations on the fact that tobacco is bad for you. But Citations make everything better I suppose.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:29 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


Cite?

Paper 1
Paper 2
Paper 3
Paper 4

The tobacco companies literally killed billions of people in the last century -- most of them well after scientists had already proven their product was poison. The onus is on them to prove their products are safe enough to sell legally. I can't freaking believe that they put a new fruity flavor and flashy metal skin on their product, and suddenly everyone trusts them again.
posted by miyabo at 8:34 PM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


> bradbane:
"Do yall feel the same way about flavored alcohol"

I'm generally pro evidence-based policymaking. Restrictions on deliberate marketing to children of products known to pose health risks seem reasonable. Packaging is part of marketing. Flavor is part of marketing. Sensible regulation takes into account actual usage.

I liked having lychee cups for my school lunches and was sad when kids choking on them led to their retail ban, but in retrospect it seems like a logical move. Restrictions on the sale of Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks seem fine, too.

Strawberry-flavored André probably puts you in a sugar coma before you get drunk. Manischewitz wine is among the sweetest booze I've ever had, but I don't think kids are having kosher wine keggers (maybe the yeshiva bochers?). In any case, we do have age restrictions on their purchase, whatever loopholes exist.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:40 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


srsly never thought I'd be asked for citations on the fact that tobacco is bad for you

This thread is not about how tobacco is bad for you. We all agree on that. Maybe take a step back and focus on the actual topic at hand?
posted by monospace at 8:56 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


Holy crap you guys nobody tell the teens you can vape marijuana because if they find out we won't ever have moral panics again
posted by saysthis at 9:04 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Not to abuse the edit window, this is what I was asking about:

"you shouldn't smoke or chew or vape or otherwise ingest any tobacco product or derivative"

Still waiting for convincing citations that prove these different means of ingesting nicotine are equally dangerous.
posted by monospace at 9:06 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maybe take a step back and focus on the actual topic at hand?

people have been answering your questions this entire thread and every time they post a study you dissect it and move the goalposts. my point wasn't necessarily about vaping- it was that the tobacco companies are pushing vaping as a way to get around cigarette laws and being skeptical of them is not the same thing as being puritanical about sex/drugs the way a few posters have been claiming being anti-vaping is a "moral panic"

tobacco/nicotine is dangerous. tobacco companies, as an above poster cites, are responsible for billions of deaths. And now in my city, in response to a ban on kid-appealing cigs/vapes etc, R.J. Reynolds is astro-turfing against a Prop trying to convince people that no- its not them against the prop, its local shop owners! I don't buy it- and the fact that these companies are now embracing vaping as a way to push tobacco/nicotine is a bad bad bad bad thing.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:06 PM on May 7, 2018 [10 favorites]


we need more studies on vaping. saying that it's safe is way premature, and considering the history of tobacco/nicotine and the companies that make it and profit from it, historically very naive.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:07 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


people have been answering your questions this entire thread

I respectfully disagree. People have been mostly changing the topic from vaping to smoking, as if they are somehow equivalent. There's been a lot of "won't somebody think of the children?!" when in fact, the children have been smoking less and less, even if some of them have been taking up vaping.

This thing is a moral panic that threatens the very first real alternative to smoking that adult addicts have had in a long time, if not ever. It's saved my health, and probably the lives of many adult smokers who have made the switch, and I'll be damned if I let some uninformed moral puritans take this moment away because they don't like how it smells.
posted by monospace at 9:16 PM on May 7, 2018 [7 favorites]


One thing missing from this discussion is that the kids using Juul may not even know that it contains nicotine. ?@!?!?!?!? i feel like I should also link to Vox's piece which I found informative.

I have no idea how they might feel about Juul, but personally I think it's a great argument for putting limits on how much nicotine is allowed in off-the-shelf juice. They've gone too far. At those levels they must be getting close to actual cigarette levels of addictiveness, it's just madness.

E-cigs have been at "actual cigarette levels of addictiveness" for a long time and it's weird that anyone would think otherwise. Like, that's sort of the point. In like ... 2009 ... before the stupid fog machine vaping rigs ... a bunch of my friends transitioned from cigarettes to e-cigs and the whole point is that it could replace every single aspect of cigarettes (without being obnoxious, sorry, that part got lost.) The physical sensations, the specific nicotine levels, the rate at which you took it in, the rituals and habits that surrounded it, all of that gets wrapped up in the neurological part of addiction, and all of that could be replicated. The early models were less and less like cigarettes; as designs iterated, the more popular models were the kinds that felt more and more like a cigarette (even if they might look like a robot dick and smell like a hookah).

In point of fact, even though I didn't smoke, I started puffing off my boyfriend's e-cig because ... reasons. whatever. He liked it so I wanted to try it too. He actually found a way to plug it into the wall to get a stronger pull. When we broke up I transitioned to normal cigarettes. I'm not trying to make a narrative blaming e-cigs or something, I could have decided to transition to nicotine gum instead, there were lots of factors, I'm trying to say that even the first shitty e-cigs were addicting in their own right. I don't think there's any way to mimic cigarettes with nicotine at all without being addicting.

Nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches are designed to be super duper different from cigarettes precisely to break the neurological cycle of addiction. Lower concentration, slower release that you can't really make higher, few to none of the same physical sensations, few of the same rituals or habits. (and it doesn't even always work!! but that's the intent in their design.) And there's NO marketing that makes them look fun or pleasant, even though they sort of are. None of that is true about e-cigs. Their design makes the intent visible.

Note, all of that also makes gum/lozenges/patches less appealing for some people, such as people who want to keep the pleasant things about smoking, who are ambivalent about quitting, who don't want to change their life that much. Vaping definitely has value for those people, as an alternative to smoking that doesn't feel like you're punishing yourself.

Juul's PR material says that it's designed as an alternative to cigarettes. It says it's intended as a smoking cessation tool, NOT for people who don't already smoke. It says that because if it said anything else, it would be a PR nightmare. Smoking cessation is the only purpose they will ever admit to, regardless of how much that's true. But that same PR material says it's designed to get as close as possible to a normal cigarette. With extra fun flavors. There is no question at all that it's just as addicting as a normal cigarette. And like other vapes, I think the design makes the intent visible.

And regardless of whoever intends whatever, vapes are being used by people who have never smoked, might never have started, and may not even know it contains nicotine sorry I still can't get over that, but anyway, to the extent that there's any moral panic, that is why. And I think that's justified. That's all I've got.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:21 PM on May 7, 2018 [14 favorites]


uninformed moral puritans

absolutely no where in any of my comments or in honestly most of the other comments on this thread has ANYONE gotten into the morality of any of this- merely the health effects or potential health effects on kids. I'm glad you quit smoking. great. that doesn't make your position right or defensible. kids shouldn't be getting hooked on nicotine.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:30 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


If you've ever spent any times on ecig forums you would know that the vast majority of vapers are former smokers who are just pleased as punch to have found a safer alternative. The narrative that vaping leads to smoking is just not borne out by the countless testimonials on these sites.

kids shouldn't be getting hooked on nicotine.

What makes you think I disagree with that? But twenty years ago, 30% of kids smoked cigarettes. Now, it's only 15%, and only 1-2% vape (see CDC links above).

I think "moral panic" sums it up just about right.
posted by monospace at 9:37 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


[Maybe let's put the "this is a moral panic" angle to rest for a while; the point's been amply explored, doesn't seem like anybody's position is changing.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:46 PM on May 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm generally pro evidence-based policymaking.

Sorry forgive me, but I'd like to be able to make my own adult, stupid decisions without having them judged by bean counters. Can't we just tax bad decisions into oblivion instead of banning everything because of "the kids"? If we as a society can tolerate the existence of peach schnapps, surely we can survive grape blunt wraps and Juuls.

Smoking is at a historical low. Can't we ban something that actually matters, like plastic straws?
posted by bradbane at 10:08 PM on May 7, 2018 [2 favorites]


Can't we ban something that actually matters, like plastic straws?

Why do you hate bubble tea?
posted by FJT at 10:21 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]


Smoking is at a historical low in large part because of anti-smoking laws and policies.

Regulation is important for the commons (e.g. second-hand), to give consumers the information they need to make informed decision (e.g. what chemical makes a vape fluid cookie-flavored), and to protect consumers who can't (e.g. kids who swallow lychee cups without chewing, then choke and die).

For all I care, an adult should be allowed to knowingly down arsenic shots. You do you.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 10:27 PM on May 7, 2018 [5 favorites]


> Made of Star Stuff:
"I finally realized I was going to need to do something else. What worked for me (YMMV) was TBX-free strips from Redwood Scientific. Here's a review on highya.com that I partially relied on to make this decision, along with reading several clinical studies such as this one that compared it to nicotine replacement therapies, and one that compared it to placebo, both favorably. The active ingredient, cytisine, is a partial agonist for the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. It stimulates those receptors and in so doing reduces the craving for nicotine, but it is not itself addictive. Essentially, it's the same thing as Chantix. I used one week's supply in the first day. About four days later I was using the strips much less often. Two weeks later I wasn't using them at all, and I was still not vaping. This morning I heard an NPR story about vaping and realized that I hadn't thought about vaping since yesterday morning-- the first time I've gone twenty four hours without thinking about nicotine in about two years.


Yeah. I tried Chantix. It did VERY BAD things to my mindset. VERY BAD THINGS. That came oh so close to VERY BAD ACTIONS. So, would this happen with these strips?
posted by Samizdata at 10:29 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just want to signal boost this meta-analysis that was linked upthread, since it seems like by far the most useful information I found while reading about this.

My prior belief was that vaping seemed harmless besides the risk of nicotine addiction, but it seems like there is some chance that there may be mildly or moderately negative health effects.

I don't think it's helpful to try to simultaneously argue about risks of tobacco, risks of nicotine, risks of vaping e-liquid, risks of addiction leading to more harmful tobacco use in the future, and risks that tobacco companies are concealing information about the other risks. It seems like a lot of people are discussing different combinations of those things and talking past each other as a result.
posted by value of information at 10:52 PM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]


value of information: "I just want to signal boost this meta-analysis that was linked upthread, since it seems like by far the most useful information I found while reading about this.

My prior belief was that vaping seemed harmless besides the risk of nicotine addiction, but it seems like there is some chance that there may be mildly or moderately negative health effects.

I don't think it's helpful to try to simultaneously argue about risks of tobacco, risks of nicotine, risks of vaping e-liquid, risks of addiction leading to more harmful tobacco use in the future, and risks that tobacco companies are concealing information about the other risks. It seems like a lot of people are discussing different combinations of those things and talking past each other as a result.
"

So let's actually read it, shall we? In the highlights, here is the text on how bad are e-cigs actually:
Overall, the evidence reviewed by the committee suggests that e-cigarettes are not without biological effects in humans. For instance, use of e-cigarettes results in dependence on the devices, though with apparently less risk and severity than that of combustible tobacco cigarettes. Yet the implications for long-term effects on morbidity and mortality are not yet clear.
Can you please explain what you mean by "some chance" here? It seems like you (and lots of other people, to be fair) are really inflating what seems to be a rather innocuous paragraph, to continue this m_____ p____.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:52 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Can you please explain what you mean by "some chance" here? It seems like you (and lots of other people, to be fair) are really inflating what seems to be a rather innocuous paragraph, to continue this m_____ p____.

Maybe "moderately" negative was a little much. Chapter 8 of that one discussed possibly dangerous compounds you might ingest in the process of vaping e-liquid. It seems like there was a great deal of variation depending on which cigarettes and liquids were tested. My takeaway was that crappily made heating coils or high-temperature vaping might result in inhaling amounts of carbonyls and metals that aren't perfectly harmless. I'd be happy to see a more detailed read that dug into the primary sources or helped assess which of the compounds discussed are a practical concern, if any.

I certainly don't mean to continue, the, uh, thing. If I decided to take up vaping I would spend half an hour trying to figure out which e-cigarettes and e-liquids might be marginally safer than others and then never worry about it again.
posted by value of information at 12:15 AM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


I tried a new nicotine product about a month ago; nicotine tooth-picks. Great for times when you can't get outside to vape (a movie theater, hanging with friends, a plane); you have pretty good control of the amount of nicotine you intake, it his an oral fixation, and it's a better delivery method than many others (patch, gum).

Anyways, just wanted to help big toothpick out with their world domination plans.
posted by el io at 1:14 AM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]


BTW if any smokers out there are wanting to quit, either the e-cigs or especially the old-school cancer sticks, I can't recommend enough The Book: Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.

I smoked for ten years, read this book slowly, over about a week, then quit cold turkey. That was over nine years ago and I haven't had a smoke since. Just read it already, it's like magic that book.

So ok I have tried e-cigs here and there and kinda sorta liked them and kinda sorta want to buy one and enjoy them here and there and oh I'm so conflicted.
posted by zardoz at 1:46 AM on May 8, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm late to this thread, but here's my testimony:

Juuls are garbage, but vaping saved my life. In five years my blood pressure has dropped something like fifty points from 170s/110s to 110/70. My resting heart rate is also down to the 60s. I have better lung capacity than a lot of non smokers. My doctor considers me to medically be an ex-smoker and a major health success story.

I am a major health success story. I used to smoke 40-50 hand rolled filterless cigs a day. I used to sweat nicotine. I smelled like a 1970s vintage bowling alley ashtray, if you dragged it through a dumpster fire of wet dog corpses.

I'm frankly astonished I had any friends. Or jobs. Or partners.

It's also because of vaping that I was able to quit smoking analogs and get a bunch of other health care stuff done, like starting GA-HRT.

This is a really big deal and a huge thing, health wise. Cis people have no idea or concept how much of a lifesaver this is for someone trans.

If you want an indication of how low-grade a health risk nicotine vaping is, it doesn't even show up on my regular bloodwork while my coffee does and it isn't contradicted for HRT and lots of medication regimes, but smoking definitely is.

And I'm technically a high use, high nicotine strength vape user. I vape like a tea kettle and I still use 18-ish mg/ml strength nicotine (equiv. to about a 1.8 mg-ish marlboro red or similar). One of the differences, though, is I use a very old, low voltage, low-vapor production system called an "RDA" or rebuildable, drippable atomizer.

It's literally just a single coil of Kanthal A1 30 gauge resistive heating wire on binding posts with a bit of organic cellulose cotton stuffed inside the coil. It's the same kind of resistive heating wire used to electrically heat a home. Or used in a toaster. Or in a hair dryer. People have been breathing the hot-air vapors of these heating wires for about a century.

Except mine doesn't ever glow red hot and runs at a much lower temperature.

The most dangerous ingredient in the entire system (short of a battery failure, pun intended) is the flavorings. So I make my own juice out of flavorless nicotine base and very minimal flavorings, usually a sweet subtle tobacco that apparently smells like someone's cooking waffles in the distance and is reportedly pleasant, or plain mint which makes me smell like I just brushed my teeth, if anyone ever notices it at all.

I do not exhale huge clouds, and they certainly aren't weird nauseating circus flavors like cotton candy or bubblegum, and I only vape where smoking is permitted and treat it as equally offensive.

And the amount of flavoring I use in about, oh, an entire month or even three is probably still less artificial food/candy flavoring than found in a single Jolly Rancher or other similar hard candy. A two ounce bottle of working dilution flavoring lasts an unknown amount of time because I essentially have yet to run out of an entire bottle out of 4 different flavorings purchased in the last 2-3 years. (I use very little flavoring compared to most DIY juice makers.)

And people have no problems eating an entire 2 pound bag of candy or something in a sitting. (BTW, you can eat the flavorings used for e-cigs. Or make candy. Or put a few drops in your coffee or a baked good. Heck, you can make exotic soda out of it with soda water and simple syrup. Exact same stuff.)

Oh, and cost wise it's so low as to almost be background noise even for someone as poor as me. Excluding the fact I keep breaking batteries, I spend about, oh, 50-60 bucks a year on DIY juice and coils. And, well, I get broken batteries for free from my favorite brick and mortar shop and repair them, so broken batteries aren't a huge cost, either.

I easily spent that much or twice that per week on tobacco, rolling papers and lighters and crap, sometimes a whole 10+ dollar pack of good rolling tobacco in a day. (UGH. I feel weird and gross even writing that.

I haven't had a real cig since starting HRT 3 months ago, and before that I would occasionally have a real one once a month or two, and just one was a majorly toxic body load I'd feel for days.

E cigarettes are fucking awesome. They're already saving lives. Get with the program, haters.

This robot dick science fiction cigarette stuff is even more awesome considering that I can also now (legally!) buy a cannabis concentrate vape that fits the same battery tech and I can carry around a little thing smaller than an AAA battery that contains and delivers (at the moment) a 77% THC-A, 0.3 % CBD carbon-dioxide supercritical extracted organic cannabis oil that would make Jack Herer himself a little dizzy.
posted by loquacious at 3:38 AM on May 8, 2018 [20 favorites]


BTW if any smokers out there are wanting to quit, either the e-cigs or especially the old-school cancer sticks, I can't recommend enough The Book: Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.

Seconded. I was a pack a day smoker for *roughly* fifteen years. I read the book about a year before I quit and thought it didn't work. A year later, when I quit cold turkey, that book ended up being the thing that helped more than anything else
posted by thivaia at 4:50 AM on May 8, 2018


I vape like a tea kettle and I still use 18-ish mg/ml strength nicotine (equiv. to about a 1.8 mg-ish marlboro red or similar).

Yeah, 18 mg/ml is where I started when I quit smoking, and it seemed about right although not really equivalent to a cigarette: You don't get the same instant spike in blood nicotine levels, the carbon monoxide, the other psychoactive chemicals in tobacco smoke, the exact feeling of scorched lungs that you were accustomed to as a smoker. Just saying, anyone thinking of quitting smoking, you'll still probably suffer some lesser withdrawal symptoms even if you don't have to simultaneously deal with the ones from nicotine.

To add a bit more quantitative information for those who don't know the basics, there are many popular brands of e-liquid that only go up to 12 mg/ml in strength. Others go up to 24, and of course almost all of them you can buy at increments down to 0. Even 1 or 2 mg/ml is enough that you can get a noticeable effect if you're not habituated. Mixing your own used to involve starting with rather dangerously high concentrations of nicotine and then diluting it, but nowadays it's possible to buy "flavorless nicotine base" pre-mixed with your choice of PG/VG at reasonable prices. According to its website, Juul is 59 mg/ml.
posted by sfenders at 4:54 AM on May 8, 2018


as someone who started reading this thread while having a cigarette i feel like sh*t lol
i quit for a year and a half without much effort/cold turkey when i stopped drinking but then started drinking again which resulted in buying smokes, against my better judgment, and in the past month i've gone from maybe 3 a week to half a pack to a pack a day. it's very easy to turn a blind eye to the health effects, especially if you are going through a Tough Time. but this thread was sobering and i'm resolved to quit again (and not to vape instead)!
thanks metafilter
posted by LeviQayin at 5:08 AM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


I was thinking about this thread because last night, someone in my extended-extended social circle, who has fallen on hard times, was asking for a loan to buy the nicotine stuff for a non-Juul vape. Because they are addicted, this is a real need - it's not like "oh your life sucks and you're precariously employed, now would be a great time to quit one of the few sources of comfort and stress-relief you've got" is a helpful, kind or realistic thing to say.

So anyway, two things came to mind: like smoking, this is probably going to be more addictive for people who are in economically or emotionally precarious situations because it's a source of comfort that you can control. And at least for people in economically precarious situations, it's going to be an ongoing economic burden - if you can afford it, it's a comfort, but if you can't, it's a stressor.

Health stuff still seems pretty equivocal, but I guess I'm kind of on the "if you don't smoke, don't start vaping, and people who don't smoke should be actively discouraged from vaping" side, just because it seems like it's one of those habits that is built to rip off poor people. Obviously, everyone should use their judgement - an expensive comfort that you really, really have to buy is better than feeling unbearably terrible all the time - but it seems like another deck-stacking system like food deserts and lousy public transit.
posted by Frowner at 5:16 AM on May 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


My kid is nearly a teen. While vaping might have helped my dad whose health was destroyed by the regular cigs he could never quit, I have no desire to see my kid have any kind of nicotine addiction. Also fuck tobacco companies.
posted by emjaybee at 5:18 AM on May 8, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'm a huge vaper. It helped me quite a serious 20 year smoking habit. I really looked into its safety, and felt okay-ish about it. However, this recent article in the Times scared the hell of out me.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/opinion/formaldehyde-diacetyl-e-cigs.html

FORMALDEHYDE REGULARLY CREATED IN EXTREME AMOUNTS
Sure enough, when we measure what’s coming out of an e-cigarette, we have found formaldehyde. Sometimes, a lot of it. A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine caught widespread attention in 2015 when its authors reported that they had found emissions of formaldehyde from e-cigs. Study after study since then has confirmed that e-cigs can deliver formaldehyde to the user.

My colleagues and I found, in a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, that under typical conditions the formaldehyde coming out of an e-cig can even exceed what is known as ceiling limits — a level of formaldehyde in the air that is not allowed to be exceeded in the workplace, even for one second.

DIACETYLE IN OVER 75% E-CIGS TESTED
Heating and inhaling flavors sound a lot like what’s happening with e-cigs, right? And Diacetyl is used to create all sorts of flavors besides butter, like strawberry, piña colada and butterscotch. It’s not surprising, then, that we found diacetyl in over 75 percent of e-cigs tested.

PENTANEDIONE IN 50% E-CIGS TESTED
Some e-cig makers have moved away from diacetyl because of its bad rap. But what are they using instead to create those 7,000 or so flavors of e-cigs on the market? Often we see a close look-alike chemical called 2,3-pentanedione, which we found in nearly 50 percent of e-cigs tested. And in animal studies, this chemical can cause something that looks just like Popcorn Lung.

----------

The way I see Juul being used is kids will keep their finger on the firing mechanism for about 20 seconds or so and then take a hit. Most vapers here will know that most vaporizers won't even let you do that. Most vapers here know what kind of hit that will deliver. Juul lets you create huge hits, and the nicotine salts already have much more nicotine than vaping juice. The Juul tool itself is silent at all times, is incredibly easy to use with no buttons or interface, hardly has any smell, and is small and portable. I think this thing will take off like a rocket.
posted by xammerboy at 7:19 AM on May 8, 2018 [8 favorites]


Samizdata: Yeah. I tried Chantix. It did VERY BAD things to my mindset. VERY BAD THINGS. That came oh so close to VERY BAD ACTIONS. So, would this happen with these strips?


I would imagine very likely so. You would want to talk to a doctor before using TBX free or Tabex pills. They have the same mechanism of action in the brain, though they are different chemicals and will be subtly different in how they activate the nicotinic acetylcholinergic receptor. The primary difference I can point to is that cytisine has a much shorter half life than varenicline -- 4.8 hours as compared to 24 hours. The TBX strips probably also have a lower dose (which is why I would suck on three of those bad boys at a time). That should mean that it would be less unpleasant to try them and find out if they did bad things, but it's certainly not a risk you should take without talking to a doctor.

TBX Free warning label:
"Warnings - Do not use: in conjunction with another smoking cessation product; if you are taking prescription medication for depression or asthma; if you have ever had an allergic reaction."

I'm still a bit ashamed that I bought herbal supplements that are even labeled as homeopathic (they're a 1X dilution, so... not homeopathic) without talking to my doctor about it. I didn't want my nicotine use in my health records. I am merely lucky that it worked for me without causing me harmful side effects. Goddamn you, nicotine.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 7:22 AM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


xammerboy shiiitttt, I thought I smelled formalin when I used those shitty Blus from the gas station when I was trying and failing to quit vaping. I know the smell of formalin, I use it to fix tissues in the lab for in situs. I convinced myself that I was mistaken. Now I bet I was certainly smelling formaldehyde. UGH UGH UGH my poor lungs, my poor beautiful pearly pink alveoli!

... I didn't know that I could do that with a Juul. The idea that I could have been getting monstrously higher hits than I *was* getting by doing three deep puffs in a row and holding my breath in between ... I'm glad I didn't know that.

I gotta check out of this thread, it's making me want nicotine way too much. And I think I've said everything I wanted to say. Well, almost.

loquacious, I'm super super happy that you have had such a good experience with vaping and your story is absolutely a good data point for harm reduction. (I'm serious, I'm not trying to patronize, I am genuinely happy and relieved for you.) Without withdrawing any of my other statements of concern -- I do not doubt that ecigs are genuinely a life saver for many people.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 7:40 AM on May 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


as someone who started reading this thread while having a cigarette i feel like sh*t lol

I smoked like it was my job for more than 30 years. I'm not judging anyone.
posted by thelonius at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2018


I don't judge smokers, because I saw my dad struggle so, so hard even though it was killing him. He had his first cigarette at age 12 and went through the Air Force in the era when smoking was practically mandatory. He just couldn't stop. He was addicted to a dangerous product that made stopping very hard, sold to him legally and available everywhere so that he couldn't easily escape it. And he died when I was 20, and will never meet his grandson who reminds me so much of him.

Smokers are victims, and they all suffer for it one way or another. I'm not going to heap hate on them.
posted by emjaybee at 11:28 AM on May 8, 2018 [6 favorites]


As a non-smoker and voluntary human extinction advocate, I think that:
    A. The objective fact that every single e-smoking device yet made makes you look like a '90s Heavy Metal magazine insert ought to be disincentive enough;
    B. People should just go ahead and smoke cigarettes. There's too many humans, you gotta die of something, at least this way you get to pretend you're a dragon.
Just do it somewhere downwind.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]


>> There’s no question vaping is less harmful
> There are in fact a lot of questions about that! Questions that won't be answered for decades.

There are open questions about the harm of vaping in an objective sense, but there's not much question that it's less harmful than smoking — even in the relatively short amount of time it's been around, it's pretty clear that it's less harmful than smoking, if only because smoking is so fucking harmful that if vaping was equivalent, we'd know already, because a bunch more of its users would be dead.

That said, I think vaping is obnoxious, but that's largely because the only vaping I ever notice is almost intentionally obnoxious, done by people blowing big clouds of vapor in enclosed spaces. People don't have an opinion on things they don't notice, so therefore the public opinion of vaping is set by the people who do it visibly, not by the people who take a hit off of a thing that looks like a USB stick once in a while, outdoors on a windy day.

If the behavior is what's obnoxious, I'd rather go after the behavior than the substance. Though if people want to use nicotine, I'd suggest that nicotine gum might be a better choice as a delivery mechanism that won't get you side-eye from coworkers, and you can always get a fidget spinner if you need something to play with in your hands. And nobody knows you're doing it unless you tell them.

FWIW, there are a fair number of people who use nicotine gum as a sort of step up from coffee, if they really need to get some shit done or stay up late or whatever. But I have an atypical cohort because I know a lot more people who are working their way off or have a history of using dip, not cigarettes.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:10 PM on May 8, 2018


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