E-cigarettes were invented as a less dangerous alternative to traditional smoking, to be used as a means to wean smokers off cigarettes. However, since their origination, e-cigarettes have made an alarming impact due to excessive and misleading marketing. The products were originally youth-oriented with fruity flavors and social media campaigns. After the FDA required companies like Juul to stop targeting teens in their advertisements, these e-cigarette companies shifted their efforts to radio, television, and print media to reach larger audiences. As a result, the FDA announced plans to expand the anti-vaping marketing campaign beyond teen-focused campaigns to include the mainstream.
Though it has been long argued that vaping is a positive way of helping traditional smokers quit, recent studies have shown otherwise. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine examined smokers who wanted to quit and were randomly assigned vaping or traditional cessation products like nicotine gum or patches. The majority of vapers were found to still be vaping 1 year after quitting, suggesting e-cigarettes are simply a smoking replacement instead of cessation treatment. The long-term effects of vaping are still unknown though it may be linked to seizures and has been shown to cause lung damage in mice.
In preparation for the FDA’s strict response, Juul is going to submit itself as a tobacco product as opposed to cessation treatment. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb emphasized the importance of maximizing the benefits of vaping for adult smokers while minimizing the means for youth to become addicted nicotine.
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