Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Will The Trump Administration's Ban on E-Cigs Help Teens, Hurt Smokers, or Both?<p> The Trump administration has pushed to ban flavored electronic cigarette products in the wake of a vaping scare in mid-October, when a mysterious lung illness&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html">affected</a>&nbsp;more than 2,000 people and killed at least 39, including teenagers.&nbsp;The disease caused widespread panic and highlighted the potential dangers of vaping, despite the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) attributing the outbreak to black-market THC products, not FDA-approved vaping products.</p> <p> &ldquo;The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak,&rdquo; the CDC&nbsp;<a href="https://www.foxnews.com/health/33-dead-vape-epidemic-cdc-black-market-thc-products-major-role">said</a>&nbsp;in a statement.</p> <p> Yet the public health agency still recommended that the public refrain from using electronic vaping products altogether, as officials have yet to determine the root causes of the illness:&nbsp;&ldquo;At this time, FDA and CDC have not identified the cause or causes of the lung injuries in these cases, and the only commonality among all cases is that patients report the use of e-cigarette, or vaping products.&rdquo;</p> <p> The scare highlighted the growing use of vaping products among teenagers, lending credence to advocates of the Trump administration&rsquo;s efforts to curb e-cigarettes, particularly targeting flavored products that appeal to adolescents.</p> <p> Teenage vaping is indeed a problem. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially declared adolescent use of e-cigarettes an&nbsp;<a href="https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/09/19/government-warns-e-cigarette-makers-to-counter-teen-vaping-epidemic/">&ldquo;epidemic&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;last year.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use/index.htm">According</a>&nbsp;to the CDC, use of e-cigarettes among high school students jumped from 1.5 percent (220,000 students) in 2011 to 20.8 percent (3.05 million students) in 2018.</p> <h2 style="clear:both;"> Is Teen Vaping a New Epidemic?</h2> <p> Since public health officials have declared teenage vaping an epidemic, the Trump administration announced plans to ban flavored products altogether, with exceptions for tobacco and menthol flavors.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.axios.com/trump-ban-flavored-vaping-products-4830652d-af8d-4c84-81b0-2174e9ad3344.html">According</a>&nbsp;to Axios, the administration plans to finalize its ban in the coming week.</p> <p> Some, however, have called foul on the administration&rsquo;s characterizing of teenage vaping as an &ldquo;epidemic&rdquo; and have labeled the numbers supporting the FDA&rsquo;s conclusion misleading. <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Julie Gunlock, the director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum&rsquo;s center for progress and innovation</span></strong></span></span>,&nbsp;<a href="http://iwf.org/blog/2809897/Gottlieb:-A-Little-Too-Late-on-E-Cigarettes">points out</a>&nbsp;the study the CDC used to justify the FDA&rsquo;s declaration of an epidemic defines &ldquo;current e-cigarette use&rdquo; as any teen who has vaped once in a 30-day period, which would include those who simply tried the products but are not regular consumers.</p> <p> &ldquo;Vaping once, twice, even five times a month does not make one a habitual e-cigarette user,&rdquo; Gunlock wrote. &ldquo;This type of use is more likely reflective of a teen who wants to look cool at a a party or fit in with his or her friends.&rdquo;</p> <p> Gunlock goes on to warn that if vaping weren&rsquo;t an option for these teens, they might take to experimenting with combustible cigarettes instead.&nbsp;Dr. Jonathan Klein, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Illinois-Chicago who specializes in adolescent medicine and smoking cessation, argues that the 30-day definition is a standard measure in modern medicine.</p> <p> &ldquo;The question that&rsquo;s used in the CDC&rsquo;s surveys is actually a pretty standard and well-validated question when it comes to any of the substance abuse issues,&rdquo; Klein told The Federalist. &ldquo;The data is quite sound, and comparing the data from year to year definitely would suggest that we have an epidemic with the rapid increase in rates of use.&rdquo;</p> <h2 style="clear:both;"> &lsquo;They Can&rsquo;t Make It Through the Six-Hour School Day&rsquo;</h2> <p> Stephanie McGeorge, an assistant principal at Westerville North High School located in a suburb of Columbus, has seen the problem first hand.</p> <p> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;ve had a single cigarette this year&rdquo; be used among students, McGeorge told The Federalist. &ldquo;But vaping is at least once a week if not more.&rdquo;</p> <p> McGeorge said parents are worried about the problem, which she says has only escalated in the last three years. She now finds &ldquo;tons of students selling cartridges to each other.&rdquo;</p> <p> Mary Kloepfer is a public health teacher at the school. She said that while vaping was becoming a major issue last year, it has reached new heights recently. She has even put a new lesson plan into her curriculum solely focused on electronic cigarettes, separate from conventional smoking.</p> <p> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a huge problem,&rdquo; Kloepfer told The Federalist, adding that when kids get addicted, &ldquo;They can&rsquo;t make it through the six-hour school day&rdquo; without sneaking a quick puff.</p> <p> Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health is one of the nation&rsquo;s leading experts on youth and adult tobacco use. Siegel said that it is teenage addiction to vaping that is the problem, and not simply the high numbers of adolescents using the products.</p> <p> &ldquo;I think that simply the fact that a certain percentage of youth has used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days doesn&rsquo;t make it an epidemic,&rdquo; Siegel said. &ldquo;What is an epidemic is a large number of kids using e-cigarettes regularly, and in an addictive or habitual pattern of use.&rdquo;</p> <p> Doctors Klein and Siegel both agree that adolescent youths are more susceptible to nicotine addiction than adults, which is supported by data from the CDC&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use/index.htm">showing</a>&nbsp;that nine out of ten cigarette smokers inhale their first cigarette by the age of 18, and 98 percent try smoking by the time they are 26. Also, those who start vaping are at high risk of eventually turning to conventional cigarettes.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.consumerreports.org/vaping/teens-who-vape-more-likely-to-turn-to-regular-cigarettes/">According</a>&nbsp;to a study conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine, teens who vape are seven times likelier to turn to traditional combustible cigarettes.</p> <p> &ldquo;Teenagers are more susceptible to nicotine addiction than adults because of the way their brains are developing,&rdquo; Klein said, adding that he fears excess exposure to the addictive chemical will hurt the developing brains of American youths.</p> <p> Siegel disagrees with the idea that using e-cigarettes will damage adolescent brain development. He believes the problem lies in how vaping addiction affects teenage behavior, such as interfering with academic studies and sleep. Kloepfer pointed out these are an issue in her school.</p> <p> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not seeing a generation of brain-damaged kids. But we are seeing a generation of addicted kids and that&rsquo;s what needs to be stopped,&rdquo; Siegel said.</p> <h2 style="clear:both;"> Will a Ban Hurt More than Help?</h2> <p> Many fear that the administration crack-down on electronic cigarettes will strip a successful nicotine alternative to cigarettes from smokers trying to quit.&nbsp;Liz Sheld has benefited from using electronic cigarettes to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.</p> <p> Sheld, who lives in the D.C.-metropolitan area, told The Federalist she has been off combustible cigarettes for more than two years thanks to the help of flavored e-cigarettes. Worried about the government&rsquo;s involvement in regulating new industries, Sheld learned how to make her own vape juices and now prefers pastry-cookie flavors in her devices as an alternative to cigarettes.</p> <p> &ldquo;I make my own juice now because I learned what happens when the government inevitably comes in to regulate an industry,&rdquo; Sheld said.</p> <p> Sheld&rsquo;s fears are turning out to be well-founded, as the Trump administration begins to implement bans on flavored products from manufacturers. Sheld says she already knows people who have returned to smoking regular cigarettes as a result of the hysteria surrounding the products.</p> <p> Siegel reiterated Sheld&rsquo;s concerns, pointing out that in Massachusetts where lawmakers have&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/24/health/massachusetts-vaping-ban-bn/index.html">joined</a>&nbsp;Michigan and New York in implementing temporary bans on vaping products, thousands of vapers are already reverting to cigarettes.</p> <p> &ldquo;I have no doubt,&rdquo; Siegel said of the possibility that Americans who have quit smoking return to cigarettes as opposed to other nicotine alternatives if Trump&rsquo;s ban is successfully implemented. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to see this on a massive, massive scale and it&rsquo;s going to have major public health consequences. What a tragedy that would be.&rdquo;</p> <h2 style="clear:both;"> Vaping the Most Successful Cigarette Stopper</h2> <p> Vape products have been shown to be the most successful nicotine alternatives to help smokers overcome their addiction to cigarettes.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779">According</a>&nbsp;to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this year, researchers found e-cigarettes to be the most effective form of quitting cigarettes as opposed to nicotine-replacement therapy.</p> <p> Dr. Klein still raised the alarm on the harmful impacts of e-cigarettes, arguing that use of the products are still not without health consequences. Klein notes that users of the products are at risk of cardiovascular disease from the nicotine use and adds that users are still being exposed to damaging chemicals by inhaling them, which Klein says warrants caution when advocating for their use, particularly among teenagers.</p> <p> Supporters of the Trump administration&rsquo;s efforts to crack down on e-cigarette makers have pointed to e-cigarette manufacturers&rsquo; advertising strategies targeting young people. Juul in particular has been chastised as a primary culprit seeking to build its enterprise on a new generation of addicted teens.</p> <p> Dr. Klein said it was obvious that the marketing tactics launched by e-cigarette companies such as promoting kid-friendly flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy were driving the vaping rates seen today. Klein also pointed to the popularizing the products through publicizing &ldquo;pro-social images associating the products with a healthy, active lifestyle.&rdquo;</p> <p> Dr. Siegel, who has written the book, &ldquo;Marketing Public Health: Strategies to Promote Social Change,&rdquo; said he doesn&rsquo;t see company advertising to be the primary driver of adolescent use.</p> <p> &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see a lot of evidence for that,&rdquo; Siegel said. Instead, Siegel pointed to a culture of vaping that has developed among young people, especially propelled by social media that has lead to the spike in nicotine addicted teens. &ldquo;Vaping has just become a cool thing.&rdquo;</p> <p> Despite the company&rsquo;s claims that it does not target adolescents, it has been well documented that Juul has done so,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.vox.com/2019/1/25/18194953/vape-juul-e-cigarette-marketing">primarily</a>&nbsp;in the early days of its marketing. One company representative even went to a high school<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/juul-congress-e-cigs-target-teens-students-testimony-2019-7">&nbsp;informing</a>&nbsp;students that the products were &ldquo;totally safe.&rdquo;</p> <p> Juul has since pledged to change its marketing strategy under the threat of new federal regulations. In October, the San Francisco company&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Juul-agrees-to-stop-advertising-to-youth-in-14540207.php">agreed</a>&nbsp;to stop advertising to young people in a settlement with a California nonprofit. As part of the agreement, Juul will limit its advertising to media where at least 85 percent of the consumer audience is aged 21 and over. The company has also promised to stop advertising on social media, and will not allow its employees to visit schools in any capacity related to their work with Juul.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2811058/Julie GunlockMon, 11 Nov 2019 10:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMedia’s Fair Treatment of Gun Advocates<p> The Today Show deserves a lot of praise for hosting two Second Amendment advocates during the show&rsquo;s 3<sup>rd</sup> hour. Anchor Craig Melvin had a very civil, fair, and productive conversation with Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting and Rhonda Ezell, an active member of the National Rifle Association, and the founder of Chicago Guns Matter.</p> <p> Wolf&rsquo;s explains that his passion for gun rights started after two of his closest friends died in the nightclub shootings. Ezell, who lives on the South Side of Chicago explained that regular gang violence makes her want to be prepared. She&rsquo;s even helping her 9-yo daughter learn how to responsibly use firearms, stating that when her daughter goes off to college &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not going to be #metoo, its going to be a NOT ME!&rdquo;</p> <p> Responding to Melvin&rsquo;s question about polarizing this issue is for the American public, Ezell responded that, &ldquo;&hellip;just because you may not see eye to eye with an individual, doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t sit down at the table and communicate&rdquo; adding that Americans can easily agree on three points:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li> We all want to be safe.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> We want the violence to stop.</li> </ul> <ul> <li> We don&rsquo;t want mentally ill people who are a threat to themselves and others to have firearms.</li> </ul> <p> Ezell also bemoaned the fact that this issue has become so politicized, saying, &ldquo;The Second Amendment isn&rsquo;t Republican thing. It&rsquo;s not a Democrat thing. It&rsquo;s an American thing.&rdquo;</p> <p> Watch the whole interview <a href="https://www.today.com/video/mass-shooting-survivor-and-nra-member-talk-candidly-about-gun-laws-72854085765">here.</a></p> http://iwf.org/blog/2811016/Julie GunlockWed, 6 Nov 2019 09:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Latest on Vaping<p> This week, the Trump administration&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-expected-to-ban-vape-flavors-except-tobacco-and-menthol-11572649682">is expected to announce</a>&nbsp;it will remove all e-cigarettes flavors from the market except those that taste like tobacco and menthol.</p> <p> Why is this a problem?</p> <p> 1)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Vaping has helped millions quit traditional, combustible cigarettes, which are 95 percent more harmful than e-cigarettes.</p> <p> 2)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Former smokers prefer fruit and dessert flavored vape liquids and many former smokers are eventually able to switch to nicotine-free vape liquid. This allows them to continue the physical habits of smoking, without inhaling nicotine. By robbing these people of the flavors they enjoy, former smokers may switch back to smoking, since e-liquids will now only come in the flavors of traditional cigarettes.&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/independent-womens-forum/banning-e-cigs-will-lead-to-more-smoking-and-grow-the-black-market">Listen to my podcast</a>&nbsp;with former smoker Vicki Vasconcello to hear why vaping tobacco flavor (one of only three flavors available under this ban) will make it impossible for her to abstain from traditional cigarettes.</p> <p> 3)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There seems to be no sympathy for the fact that former smokers were addicts. They are addicted to nicotine, which is a very hard habit to kick. And the traditional delicery system of that nicotine&mdash;smoking combustible cigarettes&mdash;caused terrible, life-ending diseases. Would public health consider banning a technology that helps heroine or Fentanyl addicts quit? Would the President dream of banning a safer, less toxic alcohol replacement? Of course not. Because we all seem to have sympathy for drug and alcohol abusers. Yet we treat those addicted to nicotine like they don&rsquo;t need life-saving advances that can help them quit. It&rsquo;s a public health tragedy.&nbsp;</p> <p> 4)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Despite the Trump Administration (and Trump himself, along with the First Lady) claiming flavor bans will help reduce the number of teen vapers, this move is sure to drive both teens and former smokers to cigarettes&mdash;because what&rsquo;s the point of vaping, if you can&rsquo;t choose the fruit and sweet flavor you like.&nbsp;</p> <p> 5)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Women especially have success quitting smoking when they use e-cigarettes versus other smoking cessation products (patches/gum). See my testimony on that subject here. By banning the flavors women prefer (fruit and dessert), this ban will be particularly harmful to women.&nbsp;</p> <p> 6)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;This ban will destroy the nearly 9,000 independently run vape shops around the country that employ 100,000 people, which will negatively impact the economy and will drive many to vote against Trump.</p> <p> 7)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;This move by the White House will send a chilling message to innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs. Consider the situation with Juul. The tech company created this new technology to help smokers switch to a less harmful nicotine delivery system. Yet, instead of receiving praise for this product, the company is struggling to keep up with the demands of the bureaucratic scolds at the FDA who refuse to pay attention to or even acknowledge the significant body of scientific evidence that shows e-cigarettes are safer and can help smokers quit. The message that sends to other private sector innovators: &ldquo;don&rsquo;t even try!&rdquo;</p> <p> The truth is, the vape industry is largely made up of small, individually owned businesses. And many vape shops are women-owned and/or run by former smokers. These small business owners each have compelling stores of how e-cigarettes and flavored vape liquids helped them to quit traditional cigarettes. Yet, these businesses and the thousands they employ will simply disappear because of Trump&rsquo;s ban. &nbsp;</p> <p> Sadly, Juul recently announced its plans to no longer manufacture their wildly popular (with adults!) flavor pods like mango, strawberry milk, and watermelon. Juul has received a lot of criticism for the move. The smaller manufacturers and small shop owners have called the company out for rolling over and for being traitors to the cause.&nbsp;</p> <p> Some of this criticism is deserved but it&rsquo;s also worth mentioning that it isn&rsquo;t the fault of Juul for trying to maneuver (and survive!) in a totally insane regulatory environment where the agency overseeing the product is constantly moving the goal posts, is reticent to communicate its future regulatory plans, and which constantly threatens to pull every e-cigarette product from store shelves. How is a company&mdash;big or small&mdash;supposed to plan for the future, or put the R&amp;D into new products when it&rsquo;s very existence is being threatened? Why would a company feel any incentive to grow when federal regulatory agencies deem (despite overwehelming evidence to the contrary) the company&rsquo;s product is dangerous and is the very cause of a health epidemic facing a generation of teens (see&nbsp;<a href="https://iwf.org/blog/2810541/Is-There-A-Teen-Vaping-Epidemic-">here</a>&nbsp;why the &ldquo;teen vaping epidemic&rdquo; is a myth).&nbsp;</p> <p> I&rsquo;m not at all happy with Juul&rsquo;s decision, but surely people can have some sympathy for a company trying to do business in a hostile environment.</p> <p> For more information and history on this issue, researcher Clive Bates offers some very helpful information on the more recent regulatory history on e-cigarettes and e-flavors and what this latest move by the Trump administration will mean long term for the industry. Read his helpful blog&nbsp;<a href="https://www.clivebates.com/the-us-vaping-flavour-ban-twenty-things-you-should-know/">here</a>.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2810997/Julie GunlockMon, 4 Nov 2019 11:11:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs Booze Bad Again?<p> Last week, multiple news outlets ran stories saying parents who drank alcohol before conceiving their child, put that child at risk for congenital heart defects.</p> <p> These stories likely led to these reactions: 1) moms furiously trying to remember every sip of wine she had before little Susie or Johnny were born and 2) dads rolling their eyes and muttering something about eggs once being considered unhealthy.</p> <p> The alarming stories were based on a study from the European Society of Cardiology, which, according to the news articles, showed that men who consume alcohol within six months of conceiving a child and moms who conceived within a year put that child at higher risk of congenital heart defects.</p> <p> Except&hellip;the study didn&rsquo;t say that at all.</p> <p> As Joseph Vasquez <a href="https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/business/joseph-vazquez/2019/10/11/media-fall-prey-researcher-warnings-mens-drinking">reported in Newsbusters</a> last week, the researchers simply ignored the study&rsquo;s findings (their own findings!) and instead injected their own personal opinions into the news release that accompanied the publication of the study. Vasquez notes that several very prominent news outlets--Reuters, CNN, Newsweek and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette--ran with what was in the press release, ostensibly ignoring the actual study.</p> <p> Luckily, Vasquez points readers to a writer who actually did read the study and found that even the study&rsquo;s conclusions that are based on data don&rsquo;t make any sense. <a href="https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/10/researchers-completely-made-up-claim-about-mens-drinking-before-conception/?comments=1&amp;start=40">Beth Mole at Ars Technica writes</a>:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> A closer look at the researchers&rsquo; analysis reveals many troubling weaknesses and caveats. For one thing, it&rsquo;s unclear how a father&rsquo;s sperm&mdash;alcohol-damaged or not&mdash;could have any effect on a fetus after fertilization. The researchers also skim over the fact that men in their study who drank up to about 3.5 standard alcoholic drinks a day appeared to have less risk of fathering a child with a congenital heart defect than non-drinkers. And the researchers extended their risk assessment to fathers who might be drinking up to a whopping 500 grams of alcohol a day. Given that a standard alcoholic drink in the US contains 14 grams of alcohol, that&rsquo;s nearly 36 drinks a day&mdash;a life-threatening amount of alcohol.</p> <p> What we see here is troubling on many fronts. First, it shows just how dangerous a scientific illiterate media can be. Sure, writers like Vasquez and Mole have corrected the story but that&rsquo;s after major news outlets, like the ones listed above, have spent days sounding the alarm about the normal behavior of having a drink at night.</p> <p> But that&rsquo;s the state of media today. Too often now, reporters simply parrot what they see in the press release that accompanies a study&rsquo;s publication, rather than actually looking at the actual study. What&rsquo;s worse, it&rsquo;s very easy to produce a study that says what you want it to say. And it can easily be published in a reputable-sounding journal. These official-sounding journals are what are known as &ldquo;predatory journals&rdquo; and they will publish anything for a fee. See <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=454627158073364">this episode</a> of Adam ruins everything for an example of the show&rsquo;s script being published in an official-sounding nutrition journal.</p> <p> But there&rsquo;s another cost here. The cost to couples considering having a baby and the mental anguish to couples who might be having trouble conceiving, who will now feel like they have to abstain from all alcohol prior to having a child. And it adds guilt and worry to couples who may not have planned a pregnancy. One can imagine the fear that you&rsquo;ve somehow unknowingly harmed your child because you had a beer or a glass of wine six months prior to that child&rsquo;s birth.</p> <p> And for couples struggling to have a child, there&rsquo;s nothing worse than stress. Often doctors will say to a couple that they need to relax, enjoy life and each other. Women are told, if you relax, it will happen. Just relax. Just relax&hellip;oh, and while you&rsquo;re relaxing, don&rsquo;t EVER drink alcohol&hellip;.oh, and avoid all plastics, including the plastic in your car and on all modern conveniences, oh, and don&rsquo;t ever eat GMOs and processed food, etc. etc.</p> <p> But, ya know, relax.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> This sort of thing is bad for society and bad for human mental health. The medical professionals involved on this study should realize the great harm they&rsquo;re doing by peddling this nonsense and the press should once again remember their duty to report facts, not the ramblings of scientists with an agenda to push.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2810883/Julie GunlockMon, 21 Oct 2019 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumTwo Truths and a Lie: Teen Vaping<p> Everyone loves the party game/icebreaker &ldquo;two truths and a lie.&rdquo;</p> <p> Can you identify which of the following is NOT true about E-cigarettes and teens?</p> <p> <strong>A: </strong><strong>Teen vaping is a problem, not an epidemic.</strong></p> <p> <strong>B: E-cigarette companies produce fruit-flavored vape liquid to attract teens.</strong></p> <p> <strong>C: Nicotine does not cause cancer and other deadly diseases.</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s take these statements one at a time:</p> <p> A: True!</p> <p> While teen vaping has inched up in the last ten years, there&rsquo;s no &ldquo;teen vaping epidemic&rdquo; as the CDC and the FDA claim.</p> <p> According to the CDC, teen vaping increased 78 percent from 2017 to 2018. Yet, if you dig down into the data, you&rsquo;ll find that the CDC and the FDA is inflating this number in order to make the problem appear worse and to generate support for greater regulations and all out bans on e-cigarette products.</p> <p> To do this, the CDC included, in its measurement of teen e-cigarette users, those teens that reported vaping ONCE in a 30-day period. Once! Vaping once, twice, even a half-dozen times in a 30-day period does not mean a teen is habitually vaping&mdash;which would make them vulnerable to nicotine addiction. Rather, occasional use of an e-cigarette (a few times a month) indicates experimentation on the part of teens&mdash;something we know teens like to do with all sorts of products that, despite illegal teen use, are still kept legal for and available to adults.</p> <p> The far less dramatic truth is, only about 5.7 percent of all high school students in the United States regularly vape.</p> <p> And vaping is not a gateway to traditional cigarettes. In fact, since the introduction of e-cigarettes into the marketplace, teen smoking has plummeted to a historic low. That shows that instead of leading to smoking, e-cigarettes have de-normalized smoking for teens. That&rsquo;s good news. And here&rsquo;s even better news. According to Public Health UK, the Royal College of Physicians and Cancer Research UK (the UK&rsquo;s largest cancer research agency), e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes.</p> <p> While teens should not be smoking or vaping, knowing that vaping is far less harmful than combustible cigarettes and that only a few teens are regularly vaping, should bring relief to worried parents.</p> <p> B: FALSE!</p> <p> Public health officials and anti-vaping organizations often suggest vaping companies produce sweet, fruit-flavored vape liquid to tempt kids to vape. They suggest fruit flavors like strawberry, mango and orange and dessert flavors like vanilla custard and apple pie only attract kids.</p> <p> Contrary to the narrative that only teens use &ldquo;kid-friendly&rdquo; vape flavors, several studies show that fruit and dessert flavors are the preferred vape liquid flavors of adults and particularly adult former smokers. That means that adults want these flavors in the market&mdash;not just teens who are breaking the law buying them.</p> <p> Of course, there are some manufacturers who produced and marketed flavors specifically to teens. That&rsquo;s a problem. And the FDA has to do a better job of enforcing the laws that already make it illegal to sell and market e-cigarette products to teens.</p> <p> C: TRUTH!</p> <p> In a recent poll on vaping, 79 percent of respondents thought nicotine caused cancer and other cardiovascular and lung diseases. Another 12 percent were unsure. Only 9 percent of respondents knew the correct answer--that nicotine is not linked to cancer or cardiovascular and lung diseases.</p> <p> Nicotine&rsquo;s main side effects are an increase in adrenaline, which can cause a faster heartbeat, and a spike in blood pressure&mdash;similar results after drinking a cup of coffee. Yet, nicotine is not harmless. It is highly addictive and some small studies have shown it&rsquo;s harmful to young brains. As such, teens should not vape or smoke.</p> <p> And it&rsquo;s important to know that currently, the FDA approves two other nicotine delivery systems&mdash;gum and patches&mdash;to help people quit traditional cigarettes. If nicotine were carcinogenic, the FDA would never allow it in the marketplace.</p> <p> <a href="http://iwf.org/publications/2803739/Policy-Focus:-E-Cigarettes:-When-Regulatory-Overkill-Actually-Kills">Click here</a> to see our video on teen vaping.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2810833/Julie GunlockTue, 15 Oct 2019 08:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHyperbole Alert: Fortnite As Addictive As Cocaine!<p> The media is&nbsp;<a href="https://fox17online.com/2019/10/07/lawsuit-compares-fortnite-to-cocaine-addiction/">reporting</a>&nbsp;that the popular video game Fortnite may face lawsuits because some weak Canadian parents claim the game is &ldquo;&hellip;as addictive as cocaine.&rdquo;</p> <p> Groan. I have three pre-teen boys who love video games. My oldest especially loves Fortnite. In fact, he&rsquo;d love to do nothing more than play Fortnite 24 hours a day.</p> <p> But he doesn&rsquo;t. Know why?&nbsp;</p> <p> BECAUSE I DON&rsquo;T LET HIM!&nbsp;</p> <p> Given the choice, my kids would subsist on chips, cookies and crackers all day. They don&rsquo;t&hellip;BECAUSE I DON&rsquo;T LET THEM!</p> <p> Given the option, my kids would watch mind-meltingly stupid YouTube videos nonstop (of kids playing video games&mdash;didn&rsquo;t know that&rsquo;s a thing? It is). They don&rsquo;t&hellip;BECAUSE I DON&rsquo;T LET THEM!</p> <p> Given the chance, my kids would never shower or brush their teeth. But they do&hellip;BECAUSE I MAKE THEM!</p> <p> Seeing a pattern here?</p> <p> Yet, these Canadian parents claim it&rsquo;s the game, not their own shoddy parenting, that has left their child damaged. In fact, they go so far as to claim they&rsquo;re helpless because the company that makes Fortnite &ldquo;&hellip;purposely designed the multiplayer video game to be as addictive as cocaine.&rdquo; They also claim their sons developed such a &ldquo;severe dependence&rdquo; on the game that the kids stopped eating, showering, and socializing (seems like rather normal teen behavior to me).&nbsp;</p> <p> Of course this was all preventable.&nbsp;</p> <p> Here are four parenting tips for keeping your kids from becoming addicted to Fortnite:</p> <p> Tip #1: Fortnight runs on something called electricity. The game console actually includes a cord and a plug, which is inserted into an electrical outlet, usually located against a wall in your home. There are several located in each room. If you don&rsquo;t use that plug feature, the game won&rsquo;t operate.&nbsp;</p> <p> Tip #2: Fortnight can also be run on computers and other devices&mdash;all of which can be physically taken away from children who live with their parents. These computers and other devices can actually be locked away for safekeeping. In extreme cases, these items may need to be sold or donated.</p> <p> Tip #3: Televisions come with remote controls, all of which include an &ldquo;on&rdquo; and an &ldquo;off&rdquo; button. I have found the &ldquo;off&rdquo; button to be especially helpful when trying to guide my children to better, healthier decisions. Cable companies also offer parental controls that include a password or a number. I have my televisions so locked down that the only options my kids see are Teletubbies and Gilligan&rsquo;s Island reruns.&nbsp;</p> <p> Tip #4: Parents might also try a parenting strategy called &ldquo;consequences.&rdquo; It works like this: Good behavior (like eating, showering, and acting like a human being) is rewarded (with things like being given limited amounts of time to play games).&nbsp;</p> <p> Of course, there&rsquo;s no money to be made in good parenting. It&rsquo;s difficult, exhausting and generally unpleasant. Perhaps that&rsquo;s why fewer parents are actually doing it.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2810796/Julie GunlockTue, 8 Oct 2019 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCoalition Calls for the FDA to Release Its Data on Teen Vaping<p> Coalition sends letter calling for the FDA to release the data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey before moving any further with the proposed ban on vaping products. The public deserves to know the facts regarding the so-called &quot;youth vaping epidemic.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/FDA-Letter-Youth-Vaping.pdf" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(201, 59, 62); text-decoration: none; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; outline: 0px; background-position: 0px 0px;"><font face="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif" style="box-sizing: border-box;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 14px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif !important;"><img alt="" src="https://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/Policy%20Focus/0518_PF_clickhere_zpsgkuvjttg.png" style="box-sizing: border-box; border: 0px; vertical-align: middle; width: 300px; height: 50px;" /></span></font></a></p> <div> <p> <em>October 3, 2019</em></p> <p> <em>Norman Sharpless</em><br /> <em>Acting Commissioner, U.S. Food &amp; Drug Administration</em><br /> <em><a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.google.com/maps/search/10903%2BNew%2BHampshire%2BAve.%2B%250D%250A%2BSilver%2BSpring,%2BMD%2B20993?entry%3Dgmail%26source%3Dg&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1570217900978000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFEcfYLCY1BFS9GiSyAyb7vlexTEg" href="https://www.google.com/maps/search/10903+New+Hampshire+Ave.+%0D%0A+Silver+Spring,+MD+20993?entry=gmail&amp;source=g" target="_blank">10903 New Hampshire Ave.</a></em><br /> <em><a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.google.com/maps/search/10903%2BNew%2BHampshire%2BAve.%2B%250D%250A%2BSilver%2BSpring,%2BMD%2B20993?entry%3Dgmail%26source%3Dg&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1570217900978000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFEcfYLCY1BFS9GiSyAyb7vlexTEg" href="https://www.google.com/maps/search/10903+New+Hampshire+Ave.+%0D%0A+Silver+Spring,+MD+20993?entry=gmail&amp;source=g" target="_blank">Silver Spring, MD 20993</a>-0002</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Dear Acting Commissioner Sharpless:</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>We write on behalf the millions of Americans who will be adversely impacted by the proposed ban on flavored e-cigarette products,&nbsp;<strong>to urge FDA to publicly release the findings of the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) before moving any further with the proposed ban.&nbsp;</strong>The public &ndash; especially those who have turned to flavored e-vapor products to quit smoking cigarettes &ndash; deserves to know the facts regarding the so-called &ldquo;youth vaping epidemic,&rdquo; and the NYTS is the most comprehensive and timely compilation of the data.</em></p> <p> <em>On September 11, 2019, President Trump announced the Administration&rsquo;s intention to move forward with a flavor ban on e-cigarette products. This flavor ban is a prime example of a government regulatory decision that not only directly damages our free market, but it has the potential to adversely affect the safety of adults and children across the world. If the government moves forward with&nbsp;regulatory restrictions, they need to do so with all possible supportive data and statistics.</em></p> <p> <em>We do not outright deny the existence of a youth use problem, nor do we suggest that the FDA and other federal agencies ignore it. However, the data is fluid, and the proposed ban is one of the most aggressive regulatory actions the government can take. Given the potential consequences to adult smokers, it is imperative that public health and policy experts are given access to the NYTS data, and that the FDA uses its guidance to arrive at sound regulatory conclusions. Why is the government issuing regulations without recent data to corroborate their claims?</em></p> <p> <em>Though we believe that the flavor ban will surely lead to many unintended consequences -- such as a regression to combustible cigarettes among former smokers and the emergence of an illicit black market -- if it moves forward, it needs to do so in conjunction with the most up-to-date information available. Otherwise, the American government and people will not be adequately prepared when these consequences unfold. We urge the FDA to make absolutely sure that any steps taken are done so in the right direction, in order to prevent the country from falling further victim to the highly probable and severe unintended consequences.</em></p> <p> <em>We encourage you to uphold your vow for transparency and prioritize the health of the American people. Please release the 2019 NYTS survey results as soon as possible. The publication of the data will ensure that President Trump&rsquo;s decision on vaping-related policy is both well-informed and positively impactful for the whole country.</em></p> <p> <em>Respectfully,</em></p> </div> <div> <p> <em>Steve Pociask</em></p> <p> <em>President and CEO</em></p> <p> <em>American Consumer Institute</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Paul Blair</em></p> <p> <em>Director for Strategic Initiatives</em></p> <p> <em>Americans for Tax Reform</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Tim Andrews</em></p> <p> <em>Executive Director</em></p> <p> <em>Taxpayers Protection Alliance</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Thomas Schatz</em></p> <p> <em>President</em></p> <p> <em>Citizens Against Government Waste</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Eli Lehrer</em></p> <p> <em>President</em></p> <p> <em>R Street</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Heather R. Higgins</em></p> <p> <em>CEO</em></p> <p> <em>Independent Women&#39;s Voice</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Daniel Mitchell</em></p> <p> <em>Chairman</em></p> <p> <em>Center for Freedom and Prosperity</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Carrie L. Lukas</em></p> <p> <em>President&nbsp;</em></p> <p> <em>Independent Women&#39;s Forum</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Jason Pye<br /> Vice President of Legislative Affairs<br /> FreedomWorks&nbsp;</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Mario H. Lopez</em></p> <p> <em>President</em></p> <p> <em>Hispanic Leadership Fund</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Michelle Minton</em></p> <p> <em>Senior Fellow</em></p> <p> <em>Competitive Enterprise Institute</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Pete Sepp</em></p> <p> <em>president&nbsp;</em></p> <p> <em>National Taxpayers Union</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Seton Motley<br /> President</em></p> <p> <em>Less Government</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Andrew F. Quinlan</em></p> <p> <em>President</em></p> <p> <em>Center for Freedom and Prosperity</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Jim Waters</em></p> <p> <em>President and CEO</em></p> <p> <em>Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions</em></p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2810749/Julie GunlockThu, 3 Oct 2019 16:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCoalition Urges President Trump to Protect Adult Vapers by Keeping Flavored Products Legally Available<p> <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/White_House_Letter_on_Vaping.pdf" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(201, 59, 62); outline: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-position: 0px 0px;"><font face="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif" style="box-sizing: border-box;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 14px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif !important;"><img alt="" src="https://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/Policy%20Focus/0518_PF_clickhere_zpsgkuvjttg.png" style="box-sizing: border-box; border: 0px; vertical-align: middle; width: 300px; height: 50px;" /></span></font></a></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The Honorable President Donald J. Trump</em><br /> <em>President of the United States</em><br /> <em>The White House</em><br /> <em>1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW</em><br /> <em>Washington, D.C. 20500</em><br /> <br /> <em>Dear Mr. President,</em></p> <p> <em>We urge you to preserve access to life-saving alternatives to cigarettes for the millions of adults who rely on electronic cigarettes and vapor products to quit smoking in the United States. Of particular importance is the preservation of flavored products, which are not only the preferred product for adult smokers but essential to the success of vaping as an alternative to cigarette use long-term.</em></p> <p> <em>Your administration has rightly derided &ldquo;regulatory dark matter,&rdquo; or agencygenerated guidance because it imposes &ldquo;back door&rdquo; regulations without going through a formal rule-making process. The flavored vapor product guidance under consideration by the FDA is among the most striking and nontransparent violations of your commitment to limit dark regulations since you took office. Unchallenged, the FDA will destroy thousands of small businesses without Congressional oversight and without sufficient input from the public.</em></p> <p> <em>Over 10,000 small mom-and-pop vape shops comprise an overwhelming percentage of this industry and represent the fastest-growing retail segment of the past ten years, a recent Labor Department analysis shows. A Wells Fargo analysis estimates that the commercial e-cigarette and vapor product industry is expected to be a $10 billion industry by next year, a growth trajectory that has significantly reduced combustible cigarette sales across the country.</em></p> <p> <em>A vast majority of these businesses employ fewer than ten employees, making the shops that sell e-cigarettes to adults trying to quit smoking increasingly reliant on sensible federal regulations that don&rsquo;t impose millions of dollars in costs through a FDA regulatory process designed purposefully by Congressional Democrats and the world&rsquo;s largest tobacco companies to end in failure.</em></p> <p> <em>Billionaires like former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg have long attempted to curtail individual rights and consumer freedom in the United States. He has already committed nearly $1 billion to anti-tobacco efforts globally, in seeking to influence organizations like the World Health Organization and fund research that demonizes adult smokers and adult vapers. On September 10, he announced a $160 million push to ban flavored e-cigarettes in America. Given your administration&rsquo;s historic accomplishments and deregulatory agenda, it would be a mistake to allow HHS and the FDA to take marching orders from activists like Mike Bloomberg.</em></p> <p> <em>Adults like flavors. That&rsquo;s precisely why everything from vodka to ice cream comes in a variety of flavors. When it comes to vaping, this holds true. Prior to the rise of JUUL in 2018, more than 80% of adult vapers used fruit, dessert, and sweet flavors to stay away from cigarettes. Tobacco and menthol e-cigarette flavors ranked as the fifth and sixth most popular flavor before one company dominated the traditional convenience store market.</em></p> <p> <em>Eliminating all but one or two of these options for adults would destroy thousands of small businesses, force many adult vapers to return to smoking, and force some to seek out products on the black market.</em></p> <p> <em>Both the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now acknowledge that the recent deaths and respiratory and lung illnesses associated with vaping have largely been caused by the illicit marijuana and THC market. Instead of targeting legal nicotine products that have existed for a decade, the administration&rsquo;s focus should be on cracking down on California drug dealers that are poisoning consumers with dangerous, unregulated, and counterfeit products sourced from places like China and Mexico.</em></p> <p> <em>Your administration can keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers without jeopardizing the great accomplishments that have been made in public health through the availability of vapor products for adults. We urge you to immediately halt the FDA&rsquo;s planned actions that will limit choices for millions of American adults who rely on flavored vaping products to quit smoking. More than 100,000 jobs and the lives of 34 million adult smokers are on the line.</em></p> <p> <em>Sincerely,</em></p> <p> <em>Grover Norquist President, Americans for Tax Reform</em></p> <p> <em>Phil Kerpen President, American Commitment</em></p> <p> <em>Daniel Schneider Executive Director, American Conservative Union</em></p> <p> <em>Steve Posiask President, American Consumer Institute</em></p> <p> <em>Ryan Ellis President, Center for a Free Economy</em></p> <p> <em>Thomas Schatz President, Citizens Against Government Waste</em></p> <p> <em>Jeff Stier Senior Fellow, Consumer Choice Center</em></p> <p> <em>Michelle Minton Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute</em></p> <p> <em>Katie McAuliffe Executive Director, Digital Liberty</em></p> <p> <em>Jason Pye Vice President of Legislative Affairs, FreedomWorks</em></p> <p> <em>Julie Gunlock Director of Center for Progress and Innovation, Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</em></p> <p> <em>Annette Meeks CEO, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota</em></p> <p> <em>Naomi Lopez Director of Healthcare Policy, Goldwater Institute</em></p> <p> <em>Mario H. Lopez President, Hispanic Leadership Fund</em></p> <p> <em>Sal Nuzzo Vice President of Policy, James Madison Institute</em></p> <p> <em>Seton Motley President, Less Government</em></p> <p> <em>Michael LaFaive Senior Director of Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, Mackinac Center for Public Policy</em></p> <p> <em>Brent Mead CEO, Montana Policy Institute</em></p> <p> <em>Daniel J. Erspamer President, Pelican Institute for Public Policy</em></p> <p> <em>Carrie Wade Director of Harm Reduction Policy, R Street Institute</em></p> <p> <em>Becky Norton Dunlop Senior Official, Reagan Administration and Member of the Trump Transition Team</em></p> <p> <em>Guy Bentley Director of Consumer Freedom, Reason Foundation</em></p> <p> <em>Paul J. Gessing President, Rio Grande Foundation</em></p> <p> <em>David Williams President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance</em></p> <p> <em>Ashkhen Kazaryan Director of Civil Liberties, TechFreedom</em></p> <p> <em>James L. Martin and Saulius &ldquo;Saul&rdquo; Anuzis Founder/Chairman and President, 60 Plus Association</em></p> <p> <em>Cc: Executive Office of the President of the United States Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney</em></p> <p> <em>The Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Acting Administrator Paul Ray</em></p> http://iwf.org/media/2810743/Julie GunlockThu, 3 Oct 2019 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMyths surrounding vaping and the potential ban on the products • The Rich Zeoli Showhttp://iwf.org/media/2810726/Julie GunlockTue, 1 Oct 2019 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSetting the Record Straight on Vaping<div data-component="siteHeader" role="banner"> <section data-component="articleBrowser"> <div style="margin-left:auto;"> <div tabindex="0"> <figure> <p> &nbsp;</p> </figure> </div> </div> </section> </div> <div id="content"> <div id="primary"> <main id="main" role="main"> <article data-component="articleView" id="post-737065"> <div style="margin-left:auto;"> <div data-component="iframeEmbed"> <p> The government has no business wiping out an industry that actually has saved lives and will, if left in the marketplace, save millions more.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s a lot to unpack from this recent piece in&nbsp;<em><a href="https://thefederalist.com/2019/09/26/its-not-a-free-market-when-consumers-are-addicts-that-goes-for-big-vape-too/#.XYzj5tiYtt4.twitter" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Federalist</a></em>&nbsp;written by my friend and former White House advisor,&nbsp;Katy Talento, which endorses government plans to limit access to e-cigarette devices and flavors. I&rsquo;ll take her main arguments &mdash; which are the ones most commonly made to support vaping bans &mdash; one at a time.</p> <p> <strong>Vaping Is Just as Bad as Smoking</strong></p> <p> Katy belittles the idea that vaping is a public health win. Yet harm reduction is a valid goal, and vaping has helped millions quit traditional, combustible cigarettes. This is in part because vaping allows people to continue to mimic the physical act of smoking (<a href="https://www.iwf.org/media/2804625/IWF-Submits-Comment-on-FDA's-IQOS-Modified-Risk-Tobacco-Product-" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">which is particularly important to women</a>) but with a device that delivers the nicotine in a safer, non-carcinogenic way.</p> <p> Don&rsquo;t take my word for it. Consider the positions of Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians, and Cancer Research U.K., all of which endorse e-cigarettes as an effective smoking cessation tool. A recent study published in the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><em>New England Journal of Medicine</em></a>&nbsp;confirms the efficacy of these devices, finding that smokers who used e-cigarettes were twice as likely as those who used other smoking cessation tools to successfully quit smoking. And these public health organizations estimate that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking. Even the FDA admits that vaping is safer than traditional smoking.</p> <p> <strong>Vaping and Nicotine</strong></p> <p> Katy describes how e-cigarettes work and writes that vape liquid is a &ldquo;concoction of chemicals containing high-concentration of nicotine.&rdquo; Yet in reality, vape liquid typically includes a combination of three main ingredients: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavorings, all of which are approved for use in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. And with many but not all e-cigarette devices, nicotine is optional. If a user chooses to include nicotine in their vape liquid, most e-cigarettes are designed to allow the user to control how much nicotine they are vaping.</p> </div> </div> </article> </main></div> </div> <p> Many former smokers report being able to quit smoking and vaping entirely because of this dose control &mdash; easing off by slowly lowering the amount of nicotine they vape until eventually they can stop completely (In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.iwf.org/blog/2807651/How-Vaping-Helped-One-Woman-Quit-Smoking" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">podcast</a>&nbsp;I did with Liz Mair, she tells a compelling story about using e-cigarettes to stop smoking, and eventually stop vaping too).</p> <p> <strong>&ldquo;Big Vape&rdquo; Is Just the New Big Tobacco</strong></p> <p> Katy claims the teen vaping issue is due to the nefarious actions of &ldquo;Big Vape.&rdquo; Yet, while there are larger e-cigarette companies, like Juul and Phillip Morris (which manufactures an e-cigarette device called IQOS, only sold outside the U.S.), the e-cigarette industry in the United States is largely made up of small, individually run vape shops. In fact, currently, there are about 10,000 of these small retail outfits (that are not connected to nor supported by &ldquo;Big Vape&rdquo;). These small businesses employ more than 90,000 people and most of these shops manufacture their own e-liquids and flavors.</p> <p> Most will close if e-cigarette and flavor bans are enacted.</p> <p> <strong>Flavors Are Just for Kids</strong></p> <p> According to&nbsp;<a href="https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-018-0238-6" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">multiple</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5121224/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">studies</a>, fruit flavors are&nbsp;<em>the</em>&nbsp;preferred flavor of all e-cigarette users &mdash; and most importantly, the preferred flavor of former smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes. Candy or dessert flavors are the next most popular. Tobacco flavor is generally found to be the least preferred flavor in all age groups. In other words, vape liquid manufacturers are producing fruit flavors to respond to consumer demand, not to bait kids into illegally vaping.</p> <p> Of course, as with any industry, there are bad actors and those who act in bad faith. And yes, there have been vape liquid manufacturers who have packaged flavors to attract youth. That&rsquo;s terrible and shouldn&rsquo;t happen. But those products were taken off the shelf by the FDA.</p> <p> Selling e-cigarette products to kids is already illegal and many vape companies actually agree that the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes should be increased from 18, the legal age in most states, to 21. (I do not hold this view, but &ldquo;Big Vape&rdquo; does.)</p> <p> <strong>Epidemic Levels of Vaping</strong></p> <p> Katy writes,&nbsp;&ldquo;Every kid, including yours, has tried vaping.&rdquo; She&rsquo;s correct that lots of kids &ldquo;try&rdquo; vaping. But the good news is that very few make it a habit. The CDC has found that only about 5.7 percent of teens (that includes 18 and 19 year olds) habitually vape (I analyzed the CDC data at length&nbsp;<a href="https://iwf.org/blog/2810541/Is-There-A-Teen-Vaping-Epidemic-" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">here</a>).</p> <p> It&rsquo;s certainly worth examining what we can do to reduce this small number of habitual teen e-cigarette users and advise teens not to vape. But it&rsquo;s folly to introduce prohibition policies on a product that has helped millions of adults quit the much more dangerous habit of smoking. How is that not a public health failure?</p> <p> <strong>Vaping Is a Gateway to Traditional Cigarette Use for Teens</strong></p> <p> Katy suggests that vaping is a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes, saying that &ldquo;<a href="https://news.usc.edu/130102/teens-who-vape-higher-doses-of-nicotine-are-more-likely-to-become-regular-smokers/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">studies</a>&nbsp;show that kids vape first, and then switch to conventional cigarettes.&rdquo; Except that&rsquo;s not at all what the study says. Instead, the study says, &ldquo;kids who vape the highest level of nicotine are the most likely to switch to cigarettes.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s troubling, but hardly surprising given the highly addictive nature of nicotine, which makes them vulnerable to nicotine addiction.</p> <p> Moreover, as Katy mentions elsewhere, there has been a major decline in teen cigarette smoking and cigarette smoking across the board. In fact,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/smoking-rate-in-u-s-hits-all-time-low/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">teen smoking is at a historic low</a>. That&rsquo;s despite &mdash; and perhaps even because of &mdash; the increase in vaping. If vaping were a gateway to smoking, surely teen smoking rates would increase. They have not.</p> <p> <strong>Throwing Innovation out with the Vape Liquid</strong></p> <p> Calls to ban vaping are largely being driven by the recent outbreak of lung disease overwhelmingly associated with people using black market THC-tainted vape liquid. Bans on vaping products, such as bans on popular, FDA-regulated flavors, won&rsquo;t solve that problem, but rather will grow the already thriving black market for vape products.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s unfortunate that Katy ends her piece by suggesting that those who warn about the dangers of prohibition policies are being paid off by &ldquo;Big Vape&rdquo; to do so. Groups tend to get funding from a wide variety of financial backers, including corporations. But corporations tend to support organizations that share their principles already. For example, the group I work for has received some small support (about 1 percent of our budget) from corporations related to vaping. Yet I wrote on these issues long before we received that support and would continue to, absent their contribution. Rather than impugning motives, it would be far better to focus on the merits of the policy.</p> <p> <strong>We Can&rsquo;t Outlaw All Bad Choices</strong></p> <p> Of course, we all wish that people would make healthier choices, such as not smoking or engaging in addictive behaviors. But we don&rsquo;t ban junk food or alcohol for adults, nor do we limit access to retail stores to help those with shopping addictions (thank God!). The government should focus on enforcing the restrictions on selling vaping products to minors and work diligently to warn the public against illegal, black-market vaping products. But the government has no business wiping out an industry that actually has saved lives and will, if left in the marketplace, save millions more.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2810707/Julie GunlockMon, 30 Sep 2019 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBanning E-cigs Will Lead to More Smoking and Grow the Black Market<p> I recently spoke with Victoria Vasconcellos, a former long time smoker and the owner of Cignot Inc., which is an Illinois based brick and mortar e-cigarette retail store that aims to help smokers switch to vaping. Victoria has made it her mission to insure that smokers receive support and affordable access to what she considers a life changing option to smoking. She has personally assisted tens of thousands of smokers as they navigate the path to no longer smoking. Vasconcellos is a founding member of the Illinois chapter of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association and is the current President of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois.</p> <p> Vasconcellos is on the front line of the battle to preserve e-cigarette products. Like many states, Illinois is considering a ban on vaping products. Vasconcellos and I discuss this proposed ban, how e-cigarette users will suffer under these regulatory actions, and how these types of restrictions will grow the black market, which will result in more dangerous, unsafe products in the marketplace.</p> <p> <iframe allow="autoplay" frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/688890463&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p> Beverly H.:<br /> Hey, everyone. It&#39;s Beverly Hallberg. Welcome to a special pop-up episode of She Thinks, your favorite podcast from the Independent Women&#39;s Forum where we talk with women and sometimes men about the policy issues that impact you and the people you care about most. Enjoy.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Hey there. I&#39;m Julie Gunlock, the director of the Center for Progress and Innovation at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum. I&#39;m joined today by a special guest to discuss vaping and the recent calls to ban e-cigarettes and flavored vape products.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Victoria Vasconcellos is a former long-time smoker and the owner of Cignot, Inc. which is a retail shop for e-cigarette products. Victoria has made it her mission to ensure that that smokers received support and the affordable access to e-cigarettes, which she considers a life changing alternative to smoking. She has personally assisted tens of thousands of smokers as they navigate the path to quitting traditional cigarettes, and she&#39;s a founding member and current president of the Illinois chapter of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association. Welcome, Victoria.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Good morning. How are you today?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I&#39;m doing great. I think you mentioned earlier you have coffee, and I have coffee. We&#39;re ready to dig into this very complex issue. Sadly, too many people, particularly legislatures, don&#39;t consider it complex, and there&#39;s so much confusion out there and misinformation that consumers, and particularly non-smokers and people who don&#39;t really have any experience trying to quit smoking, they also think it&#39;s a simple matter of just banning these products.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I want to talk about that and why these bands are so dangerous, and why it could really turn into a public health disaster. But before we get into that, I want you to tell me a little bit, and certainly the listeners, a little bit about your journey from a longtime smoker to a user of vape products, and to then owning a retail shop and also an advocate for these products and for people&#39;s access to them. Let&#39;s start off there, and I think the reason I want to start off there is I think it&#39;s really important to hear these stories of how people quit smoking through vape products.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah. It&#39;s important because it&#39;s about a mission. In very early 2009, I had heard before about electronic cigarettes. They were not really commercially available, and my nephew mentioned to me that he saw one in a bar, so he kind of rekindled my interest.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I tried one. I tried it. It was a Joyetech 510, and it was just life changing. I mean, I was a 33 year smoker.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Wow.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I had purified my Marlboro addiction by getting American Spirit in bulk and rolling my own every day.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Wow.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> But I could feel... I would walk up the stairs, and I&#39;m a pretty healthy, active woman who&#39;s been in sports, but I was winded by the time I got to the top of the stairs. My cough was so terrible that I would have to leave rooms. I&#39;d have to excuse myself from the dinner table in a restaurant to go outside and cough my lungs out.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I tried everything, and I got this e-cig, and it was... My whoa moment was I had left my house to go to Jewel&#39;s, pick up groceries, and I had forgotten my cigarettes and my e-cig. I was driving, and I was about to just do a U-turn and go back home and get them, and I had been on an e-cig dual-using for a couple of weeks then, and I thought to myself, &quot;No, I can actually get through shopping without this binky.&quot; And that was my kind of... It was an epiphany that I was out of the clutches of cigarettes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> My personal products that I was ordering directly from Joyetech in China were getting seized at the border, because the FDA was considering them a new drug delivery device, and that just made me irate that they would keep someone like me, a longtime smoker who was well on the path to death, from trying this alternative.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So I started Cignot, and my purpose of Cignot was that people wouldn&#39;t be willing to send their money overseas and perhaps lose it and never get their products because of a seizure. So I was going to take that risk away and allow smokers, as many as possible, to know that they had this alternative.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> You say in your bio that you&#39;ve helped tens of thousands of people. You&#39;ve helped them navigate this path. And you know, I do think that that cigarette addiction and wanting to switch to a safer means of delivering that nicotine... what a lot of people don&#39;t know is the nicotine... Actually, it&#39;s incredibly sad. IWF did some polling on this earlier in the year, and it&#39;s astonishing to me because we asked the question, &quot;Do you think nicotine is harmful?&quot; I mean, the vast majority of people, way over 70%, thought that the nicotine was the harmful thing, not the burning.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so, you mentioned helping people sort of navigate this system, but you must also be involved in sort of correcting that misinformation that those misconceptions about cigarettes, or rather about vaping, and the difference between vaping and e-cigarettes. Do you find that so many people like our poll are totally confused about this issue?<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I do, but I think it&#39;s been a purposeful conflation of the dangers in smoking and nicotine to bash e-cigs. For whatever reason, we could put on tinfoil hats and talk conspiracy theories, but for some reason there&#39;s a group of organizations and people that they just want to give this terrible impression of e-cigs. What I found recently, which is horrifying, is that where we were once pounding our chest... I&#39;ve helped 65,000 customers plus, and I would say back in 2009 there was no internet information about this. There was no the E-Cigarette Forum, and that&#39;s where everybody convened and we discussed it all. We improved the product. We put pressure on manufacturers. I mean, truly, truly a consumer driven industry this has been.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And started by mostly all consumers, right? I mean none of us were... I mean, I was just a self-employed person, gainfully unemployed is what I always call myself, but I would never have wanted to start a business and have employees. That&#39;s just not what I like to do.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> This was so important, and as a consumer, I needed other smokers to understand. We were proud and strong and what is happening lately is that we&#39;re being shamed again.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Exactly.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I was a smoking... It&#39;s terrible. I mean, I had people harassing my sales people in the stores with these inflammatory articles.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Let&#39;s talk a little bit about that, because I&#39;ve seen that too, and I want to back up just a little bit and talk about how interesting... This is an issue that&#39;s fairly new to me. My job at IWF is sort of to examine these sort of moral outrages and these public health panics, and to look at the data and say, &quot;Okay, is this actually something to worry about?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so this sort of panic about e-cigarettes is fairly new, and as I was examining it, it was really interesting to me to see how the public health officials, and I agree with you, this is a coordinated and intentional effort to misinform the public, particularly moms, and so, when I was looking at this, it was interesting to me to see that it used to be, &quot;Don&#39;t smoke.&quot; Right? And, &quot;Smoking is bad.&quot; And it&#39;s slowly changed to, &quot;Nicotine is bad. Nicotine.&quot; And the reason is is because they want to include now vaping in the hysteria of smoking. They want it to be one big package, and so I agree with you that it&#39;s intentional, and it&#39;s interesting to see how the narrative has changed from smoking is bad to nicotine is bad, because again, as I said, they can then capture nicotine or vaping.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> You also mentioned about how you&#39;re being shamed. This is also, I think, intentional to try to sort of shame people or embarrass them or somehow paint vaping as as-bad as smoking. Expand on that harassment that some of your employees and other people have have experienced.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, I think, when you said they&#39;ve infuriated the moms, I mean, they&#39;ve weaponized soccer moms is what they&#39;ve done.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They have a genuine concern-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Sure.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> ... which we share, I must say. As an owner of a business, I share that concern, and I recently just fired someone who had sold to underage. I mean, it&#39;s just an unacceptable thing. Nobody, no smoker like me, wants a kid to start smoking or vaping.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Of course.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> But recently my nephew was at home, and a neighbor had crossed the street, and he was working at his workshop. He had a logo of mine that he was painting that I had cut out of wood. This guy, once he found out what that logo was for, started harassing my nephew. I mean, it&#39;s just the everyday public with strangers are coming up to you and looking down their nose at you because of what they&#39;ve been reading.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah, yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It&#39;s frightening, and it&#39;s actually sad, because once we&#39;ve-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Meanwhile, at liquor stores employees are, as far as I&#39;ve heard or seen, have not been targeted like this. And if people were really concerned about the dangers to teens, they would look at there&#39;s some pretty high numbers of teen drinking. I also wonder why people aren&#39;t more concerned with the leading cause of death of teenagers, which is auto accidents, and it&#39;s not all drunk driving. It&#39;s just reckless driving. And so, you&#39;ve got two major problems in the teenage community and the young adult community. Again, the leading cause of death of young adults and teens is auto accidents, and there&#39;s very high levels of under-age drinking.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I always feel like this vaping issue is really distracting from issues that are important to young adults and teens. When you look at actually the data, the CDC data, and I know you know this too, that this whole idea... Of course, fine. Let&#39;s just say that. Let&#39;s say we both agree. There should be no teen vaping. Teenagers should not have this stuff, and we don&#39;t want anyone to pick up the habit who hasn&#39;t previously smoked. But the numbers are really inflated. It&#39;s only like 5% of teenagers who smoke habitually.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> What the CDC is doing is asking teenagers, &quot;Hey, did you smoke once in the past 30 days?&quot; And they&#39;re also not accounting for non-nicotine vape liquid that&#39;s available that many of these teenagers are using. So I think the teen vaping issue is again being used to demonize retailers and the entire industry, and they&#39;re forgetting that people like you and the tens of thousands of people that you&#39;ve helped actually use vaping to cut or to cut out of a really dangerous habit of smoking.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah. That&#39;s what I was going to add. It&#39;s almost that there&#39;s no offset for our lives, right? We&#39;re discounted. You know?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I was a smoker, so my life doesn&#39;t matter anymore?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, there&#39;s 35 million smokers. There&#39;s 14, or 13 million I believe now, of us that vape. And there&#39;s like, &quot;Wait, don&#39;t we count? Where do we get added into the decision to ban flavors?&quot; Which I was asked yesterday if you think vapers will turn back to smoking. And I&#39;m like, &quot;Well, yeah, because there&#39;s not going to be any vape shops left. Where are they going to get their stuff?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They&#39;re going to go... I mean, cigarettes are readily available.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Tell me... I have a question about, now, lot of people think the vape industry is all JUUL. It&#39;s all JUUL. Everything is JUUL, right? Disabuse our listeners of that, because that&#39;s not true, right? Tell us about the individual vape shops and people like you who manufacture their own flavors, and tell us a little bit about that.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, I think again, because this was a cottage industry, there were no e-liquids available in the United States when I started my shop, and I was having, because of the supply chain issues with being seized at the border... I mean, I had to come up with a solution because I had people that were depending upon me to not buy the next pack of cigarettes.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah, right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So we started manufacturing e-liquid ourselves, and really, it started as a supply chain issue. I had to guarantee that they had something available, whatever it was to keep them from buying their next pack of cigs.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So, I mean, I think that became... We all did that. And obviously now e-liquid is... There&#39;s a bunch of manufacturers in the United States.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> But there&#39;s also the idea that there&#39;s individual vape shops, like Cignot. It&#39;s not like there&#39;s a CVS of vape shops that that are just... I mean, it&#39;s usually individually-owned shops that people who, a lot of them were former smokers, cared passionately about the smoking cessation qualities of e-cigarettes and have helped other people sort of kick that habit, so it&#39;s not just the liquid. It&#39;s also the shops themselves. I mean, this is largely a small business run industry. Correct?<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It is. And you get private guidance in a shop. You go to Jewel&#39;s or 7-Eleven or whatever, you don&#39;t have a clerk that really understand the product. That&#39;s explains, &quot;What are you smoking now? How much do you smoke?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Can you imagine? Yeah, I&#39;m trying to imagine asking the 7-Eleven guy.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> You&#39;re trying to get your doughnut, and the guy&#39;s educating him on vaping. The value add that these small vape shops have... I mean, we&#39;re former smokers, and we get it. We can completely relate. We&#39;re like built-in addiction counselors, technically.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And what JUUL did was they made a marvelous product that people loved, right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I had been in contact with JUUL prior to them getting big to get my view of how effective is this. Is this really going to work for an adult smoker? And so, I mean, their intention was the adult smoker. Unfortunately, it is such a cool product that the kids dig it.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And then you&#39;ve got Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids putting up all these-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh, they&#39;re just... yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> ... social media. I mean, they did all the advertising for JUUL to the youth has been through Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean JUUL&#39;s company... Yeah. They targeted a younger demographic.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Explain that a little bit. Explain that a little bit, because it&#39;s funny. You and I know this issue, and we&#39;re like... It&#39;s funny, because sometimes when I write about this issue, my editor has to say, &quot;Julie, you need to explain this paragraph because you&#39;re speaking like you&#39;re talking to an audience who understands this issue.&quot; Talk a little, explain that further, on the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, their advertisements. How they actually through scaring kids actually promoted the very product they don&#39;t want kids to have. Just just take a moment to explain that.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah, I mean, they were saying things like, &quot;My god, everybody&#39;s doing it.&quot; They had these cool graphics with worms under skin. I saw a recent YouTube video, and it was these kids were making, this young man, was making fun of all these commercials that they did.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They did one recently with a heavy metal guy, and kind of a monster-like guy, &quot;Nicotine!&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right, right, right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> That&#39;s the Tide pod challenge. That&#39;s just putting lights around it for a kid who&#39;s... That&#39;s what kids do. They buck the system. And they&#39;re like, &quot;Yeah.&quot;<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, so they&#39;ve helped create this whole, what they call, an epidemic. And while you say it&#39;s true that kids aren&#39;t using it daily, everybody wants to take a puff. They&#39;re not going to be uncool at a party, and that&#39;s being charted as a user of vaping products. [crosstalk 00:17:42]<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, and as a mom, I don&#39;t want my kid... I&#39;ve got a middle schooler, and he&#39;s come home and talked about it a little bit, and I certainly talk to him about it. As a mom, if given the choice between... it seems like the Democrats.. all right, and I don&#39;t mean to because that&#39;s not true. There&#39;s as many Republicans who are worked up about this. For goodness sake, President Trump announcing that he might ban flavored products. I mean, so I take that back because there&#39;s as much hysteria on the right as the left on this issue.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> But I feel like, so often it&#39;s an abstinence 100%. Look, I also, I don&#39;t want my child to try vaping, but he might. I certainly would rather him experiment with vaping, which is 95% less harmful than smoking than trying cigarettes. And that&#39;s what&#39;s so frustrating to me is that there seems to be no recognition that kids are going to probably experiment with stuff. There&#39;s a much safer version of that, and that kids think is cooler than smoking because smoking smells and you can&#39;t exactly hide it from your parents. There&#39;s all this. There&#39;s smelly smoke, so it&#39;s not... My sister&#39;s attempts with the towels under the door when we were little didn&#39;t work. My mom could smell that on the other side of the house.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> What were we thinking?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I know. And so there seems to be, and this... Go ahead.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> There&#39;s a great deal of data that says that abstinence is a failed strategy, right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, &quot;Don&#39;t have sex.&quot; So what are you going to do? Ban condoms?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, there&#39;s a reality that humans enjoy pleasure. Kids like to experiment. They enjoy bucking the system. And one of the issues with what they&#39;re doing is you can&#39;t lie to kids, especially now.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I remember when I was very young and I was hearing all the marijuana madness. We didn&#39;t have the Internet. I went to the library, and I started reading Mother Jones, and they were lying to me. Public Health was lying to me. So I smoked anyway because... And you know what? That&#39;s a credibility issue. I would have to tell you that I really don&#39;t believe what Public Health says anymore, because it&#39;s always for some monetary reason or to orchestrate some panic, or to control the masses or another-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right. Well let&#39;s not forget, okay, and I&#39;ve actually written about this quite a bit. Public Health always had these sort of oops things where they... Let&#39;s talk about eggs and cholesterol, right? For 20 years, my poor father didn&#39;t have a proper omelet, okay, or an actual fried egg in the morning or any scrambled eggs. He was eating those awful Egg Beaters because the doctor said, &quot;Hey, You know you have to worry about your cholesterol. You have to watch your cholesterol.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And then, no kidding, two years ago, HHS and the public health sector comes out and was like, &quot;You know what?&quot; And they actually... This is the actual statement. &quot;Cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern.&quot; I mean, can you imagine? My poor father has been having egg whites for 20 years, and then suddenly that the HHS is like, &quot;Actually, we were wrong.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so, I only bring that up because they do that with... I mean, every 10 days coffee&#39;s going to kill you. And then, you know what? Actually coffee keeps you living longer.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It&#39;s like margarine and butter.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh, exactly.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah. It&#39;s the whole margarine and butter thing. I mean, I guess I&#39;ve always... My mother was a farmer from Italy, right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So I&#39;ve always been brought up, &quot;Stay as close to the earth as possible.&quot; Right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, that&#39;s the way it was designed. It&#39;s the system.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Sure.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Don&#39;t mess with the system. I mean, I think Public Health has really lost its credibility, and if there&#39;s any saving grace about what is happening now with these THC deaths is that it is so obvious that they have just utilized this to bash e-cigs when our industry, the electronic cigarette industry containing nicotine meant to get smokers off of cigarettes, deadly cigarettes, it is so obvious that they are throwing Public Health to the wind to bash a product that they&#39;re against.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Absolutely.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And in doing that, they are killing people. We are-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> They&#39;re killing people. They are literally... Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They are killing. Yes.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> This hysteria, this claims that they&#39;re going... and what makes me so mad. I&#39;d like to talk about two other things. First of all, I am a mom of three boys. I&#39;m going to face this stuff, and I feel like when I see women that are afraid of this... A friend of mine sent me a listing from her Listserv, her neighborhood Listserv. I don&#39;t know if you have those or these Yahoo groups.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> If you live in a certain ZIP code, you have these, and actually they&#39;re great fun, because usually these little neighborhoods spats are hilarious to watch, but they have started that. In this one neighborhood where my colleague lives, they&#39;ve started up an anti-vape moms&#39; group, right? One of these stroller brigades, where the moms get up there, and they&#39;re all indignant and angry about some particular thing. This one is about vaping.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I&#39;m sitting there thinking to myself, &quot;Gosh, I wish I could go talk to them and reassure them.&quot; One of the things that you hear from a lot of moms is, &quot;Oh, well look at these flavors, bubblegum and mango and creme brulee and all this stuff.&quot; When I do have an opportunity to talk to a mom and I say, &quot;Actually they&#39;ve polled adults, former smokers and what flavor, and you&#39;d think, &#39;Well it&#39;s tobacco. They want tobacco.&#39; No, they want these delicious flavors. Who wouldn&#39;t want the taste of bubblegum over tobacco?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so one thing that frustrates me is one of the calls is to ban particular flavors. So they&#39;d leave the tobacco flavor out there, but to ban certain flavors. Menthol is another one, and it frustrates me so much because that is going to drive people back to smoking if you take the flavor away. The very reason they&#39;re vaping is because they like all these different flavors. And again, polling shows, adults like this. It&#39;s not just kids.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Tobacco flavor and e-cigs and vaping is flavorless. Period. You have to add in flavor. There are attempts to create tobacco flavors. And you know, when I did a 70 year old that&#39;s been smoking Camel, whatever, you do transition them initially to something that might be like a Camel flavor, and it&#39;s not a good semblance of the flavor. It&#39;s hard to create a decent tasting tobacco flavor or something that&#39;s similar, because you cannot duplicate combustion, and that&#39;s part of it.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So, you try that, but then their taste buds start coming alive in about a week and a half and they&#39;re like, &quot;Man, this tastes like crap.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah, yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They do. Why shouldn&#39;t they have strawberry sherbet for their vape?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They like that flavor.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> But people act like adults don&#39;t like the... What adult doesn&#39;t like the flavor of bubblegum? I mean, it&#39;s not just... They act like this is, &quot;Oh, this is definitely, an attempt to attract kids.&quot; But that&#39;s just wrong. It&#39;s actually not true.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Again, they&#39;re discounting me, and I&#39;m going to say me. They&#39;re discounting me, because I&#39;ve been baking peach for 10 years or pomegranates.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Why do you think I should go back to having to taste Marlboro?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Why do you think you should impose that upon me? Don&#39;t I get... Because I&#39;m a smoker, I don&#39;t get to have pleasure?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, but again, the argument does make sense to some people if they say... Because most people don&#39;t know that you&#39;ve been smoking pomegranate and peach for 10 years. Most people think that a lifetime smoker who switches to vaping would want the taste of tobacco, would want the flavor of tobacco, so they don&#39;t understand, and they think that the only reason these vape shops and individual companies have developed these sweeter flavors, is just to attract the kids, and I feel like that&#39;s a really important thing that we need to debunk.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That people, like you said, they have... Their taste buds come alive and their preferences may change, and they&#39;re still getting the satisfaction of the nicotine without all the harm, but they&#39;re getting it with a really nice flavor. It frustrates me that people think the only reason these sweet flavors and fruit flavors exist are to get the 13 year old hooked. It&#39;s just not true, and that&#39;s why it&#39;s so important and so great that you&#39;re out there talking about this.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Sometimes I say, &quot;Oh, well, there&#39;s a poll that says that most vapers actually... &quot; And it&#39;s like, &quot;You&#39;re talking data. You sound like a robot.&quot; It&#39;s great to hear it from people who actually have, like you said, used peach. Peach is something that I&#39;m sure a lot of kids would be attracted to, but in fact, you&#39;re a grown adult, and that&#39;s your flavor of choice. That&#39;s so important for people to know.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It is. It is. I pointed this out recently. Again, these THC cards. They&#39;re finding when they test these vape pens that they&#39;re collecting in schools, that a great many of them are containing THC, which is very dangerous, obviously, when it&#39;s on the black market. But they come in all kinds of lovely blue raz and lovely flavors just like e-liquid does, and if you think that a kid is picking up a THC card and vaping that for the blue raspberry flavor, and not to get buzzed-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> The blueberry flavor. Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah, that&#39;s crazy.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah. That&#39;s crazy.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They&#39;re picking it up to get the buzz.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right. Yeah, I&#39;m glad you wrapped the THC issue. And again, this is another misconception, and we&#39;ll finish on this, but it&#39;s true that this is not... These infections and these respiratory issues and deaths have not been connected to FDA-approved liquid. That&#39;s correct. Right?<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Oh, yeah. It&#39;s water-based. This has to do with an oil, and you know who&#39;s been fabulous in reporting this is Leafly Magazine. They were on this from almost day one. There was a new additive thickener out there. And again, there is this big chasm of... It&#39;s a regulatory issue where the FDA cannot create standards for additives because it&#39;s illegal federally, while states are rushing to make them legal but don&#39;t have the science departments to do this testing.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So that regulatory chasm needs to be bridged somehow, but you could not put oil in an e-cig. It is a different type of atomizer. It would clog it up. You would get a dry hit, and it would burn out. It would not be vapable, and I can&#39;t tell people, because I have customers that come in. &quot;Are these safe?&quot; And I&#39;m like, &quot;Yeah, you can&#39;t put oil in this stuff. It would kill your atty in a day.&quot; You would know, believe me.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah. Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It&#39;s water and oil. You would see it, right, in your tank. It would separate. So yeah, this THC thing... And again, when the CDC called it e-cigs, perhaps they&#39;re not aware of our terminology, but I was talking to a painter the other night, a young man, and this is two nights ago, so this is very recent. And I said, &quot;Hey, are you aware that there&#39;s black market THC carts, and that&#39;s what&#39;s causing the lung issues?&quot; And he was like, &quot;No, I thought it was e-cigs.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So they&#39;re using the wrong term, and even after being told.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh but they&#39;re using it, and it&#39;s not... Look, I happen to believe this is intentional. It is a way to stoke fears using people&#39;s sort of, I hate the word ignorance, but really using people&#39;s ignorance of how these particular devices actually work, and that there is the existence of a black market. What frustrates me so much is they&#39;re claiming, &quot;Oh.&quot; Now Public Health is saying they&#39;re concerned about this black market of illicit products, yet in the same breath, they&#39;re talking about making other things illegal. How do they think black markets grow? They&#39;re going to make it worse.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I do think that they were slow to point out to people that this is THC related, and this is oils, and these are things that are not FDA-approved that you&#39;re bringing into your lungs. They were slow to really make that distinction, because I think they did use it as an opportunity to make people afraid about e-cigarettes, in general.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> They&#39;re desperate for a smoking gun for something that shows harm, and because they don&#39;t have that, they thought this was their opportunity. Absolutely salivating at the idea of making people more afraid and damaging the industry.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Absolutely.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Maybe I&#39;m paranoid. Maybe I&#39;m conspiratorial.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> No, I think they underestimate our resolve.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, these saved my life, and I&#39;ve got 65,000 people, probably 80% of which have converted for life, and it&#39;s saved their life. They underestimate how hard people will fight to save their own life.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, that is-<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Just a minute. 1300 will die today from smoking-related deaths.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> You can never, ever lose sight of that, of the big picture.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well listen, Victoria. You are a passionate advocate and so informative, and I&#39;m so glad you came on.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, thank you.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Tell our listeners where they can find out more about you if you have a website or talk a little bit about your work for the trade association. Just give them a little bit of information on how to reach you.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, I&#39;m the current president of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois, and certainly if you&#39;re a business owner in Illinois, you should be part of our membership. That website is sfacoil.org, and if you have any questions, I am pretty much the sole customer service person for my company online, and I take it very, very personally. If you have any questions on vaping, my email address is Vicki, with an I, @cignot.com, and that&#39;s like cigarette not, C-I-G-N-O-T .com. I&#39;m happy to answer any questions you ever have and give you studies or whatever I need to do for you.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> All right, so instead of going to the 7-Eleven and trying to ask the 15 year old clerk hard questions about vaping, it&#39;s much better to support a small business-<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I&#39;m there.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> ... a small business like Cignot, which is helping thousands of people every day, and Victoria helping thousands of people every day kick a very dangerous habit. I&#39;m really glad that you were able to quit smoking, Victoria. I think it&#39;s a wonderful story, and it&#39;s so important, and really hope that these products are left in the marketplace for other people who are struggling with that addiction.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I do as well. And thank you for having me on, Julie.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, this was a great podcast. Victoria, you were a great guest. Thanks so much.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> We hope you, the listener, take away something new from today&#39;s conversation, and if you enjoyed this episode of She Thinks, or like the podcast in general, we&#39;d love it if you could take a moment to leave us a rating or review on iTunes. This helps ensure our message reaches as many Americans as possible. Share this episode and let your friends know they can find more She Thinks episodes on their favorite podcast app. From all of us here at IWF, remember, you&#39;re in control. I think. You think. She thinks.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2810705/Julie GunlockMon, 30 Sep 2019 07:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBanning E-cigs Will Lead to More Smoking and Grow the Black Market<p> I recently spoke with Victoria Vasconcellos, a former long time smoker and the owner of Cignot Inc., which is an Illinois based brick and mortar e-cigarette retail store that aims to help smokers switch to vaping. Victoria has made it her mission to insure that smokers receive support and affordable access to what she considers a life changing option to smoking. She has personally assisted tens of thousands of smokers as they navigate the path to no longer smoking. Vasconcellos is a founding member of the Illinois chapter of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Assiciation and is the current President of the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois.</p> <p> Vasconcellos is on the front line of the battle to preserve e-cigarette products. Like many states, Illinois is considering a ban on vaping products. Vasconcellos and I discuss this proposed ban, how e-cigarette users will suffer under these regulatory actions, and how these types of restrictions will grow the black market, which will result in more dangerous, unsafe products in the marketplace.</p> <p> <iframe allow="autoplay" frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/688890463&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p> Beverly H.:<br /> Hey, everyone. It&#39;s Beverly Hallberg. Welcome to a special pop-up episode of She Thinks, your favorite podcast from the Independent Women&#39;s Forum where we talk with women and sometimes men about the policy issues that impact you and the people you care about most. Enjoy.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Hey there. I&#39;m Julie Gunlock, the director of the Center for Progress and Innovation at the Independent Women&#39;s Forum. I&#39;m joined today by a special guest to discuss vaping and the recent calls to ban e-cigarettes and flavored vape products.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Victoria Vasconcellos is a former long-time smoker and the owner of Cignot, Inc. which is a retail shop for e-cigarette products. Victoria has made it her mission to ensure that that smokers received support and the affordable access to e-cigarettes, which she considers a life changing alternative to smoking. She has personally assisted tens of thousands of smokers as they navigate the path to quitting traditional cigarettes, and she&#39;s a founding member and current president of the Illinois chapter of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association. Welcome, Victoria.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Good morning. How are you today?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I&#39;m doing great. I think you mentioned earlier you have coffee, and I have coffee. We&#39;re ready to dig into this very complex issue. Sadly, too many people, particularly legislatures, don&#39;t consider it complex, and there&#39;s so much confusion out there and misinformation that consumers, and particularly non-smokers and people who don&#39;t really have any experience trying to quit smoking, they also think it&#39;s a simple matter of just banning these products.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I want to talk about that and why these bands are so dangerous, and why it could really turn into a public health disaster. But before we get into that, I want you to tell me a little bit, and certainly the listeners, a little bit about your journey from a longtime smoker to a user of vape products, and to then owning a retail shop and also an advocate for these products and for people&#39;s access to them. Let&#39;s start off there, and I think the reason I want to start off there is I think it&#39;s really important to hear these stories of how people quit smoking through vape products.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah. It&#39;s important because it&#39;s about a mission. In very early 2009, I had heard before about electronic cigarettes. They were not really commercially available, and my nephew mentioned to me that he saw one in a bar, so he kind of rekindled my interest.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I tried one. I tried it. It was a Joyetech 510, and it was just life changing. I mean, I was a 33 year smoker.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Wow.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I had purified my Marlboro addiction by getting American Spirit in bulk and rolling my own every day.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Wow.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> But I could feel... I would walk up the stairs, and I&#39;m a pretty healthy, active woman who&#39;s been in sports, but I was winded by the time I got to the top of the stairs. My cough was so terrible that I would have to leave rooms. I&#39;d have to excuse myself from the dinner table in a restaurant to go outside and cough my lungs out.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I tried everything, and I got this e-cig, and it was... My whoa moment was I had left my house to go to Jewel&#39;s, pick up groceries, and I had forgotten my cigarettes and my e-cig. I was driving, and I was about to just do a U-turn and go back home and get them, and I had been on an e-cig dual-using for a couple of weeks then, and I thought to myself, &quot;No, I can actually get through shopping without this binky.&quot; And that was my kind of... It was an epiphany that I was out of the clutches of cigarettes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> My personal products that I was ordering directly from Joyetech in China were getting seized at the border, because the FDA was considering them a new drug delivery device, and that just made me irate that they would keep someone like me, a longtime smoker who was well on the path to death, from trying this alternative.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So I started Cignot, and my purpose of Cignot was that people wouldn&#39;t be willing to send their money overseas and perhaps lose it and never get their products because of a seizure. So I was going to take that risk away and allow smokers, as many as possible, to know that they had this alternative.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> You say in your bio that you&#39;ve helped tens of thousands of people. You&#39;ve helped them navigate this path. And you know, I do think that that cigarette addiction and wanting to switch to a safer means of delivering that nicotine... what a lot of people don&#39;t know is the nicotine... Actually, it&#39;s incredibly sad. IWF did some polling on this earlier in the year, and it&#39;s astonishing to me because we asked the question, &quot;Do you think nicotine is harmful?&quot; I mean, the vast majority of people, way over 70%, thought that the nicotine was the harmful thing, not the burning.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so, you mentioned helping people sort of navigate this system, but you must also be involved in sort of correcting that misinformation that those misconceptions about cigarettes, or rather about vaping, and the difference between vaping and e-cigarettes. Do you find that so many people like our poll are totally confused about this issue?<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I do, but I think it&#39;s been a purposeful conflation of the dangers in smoking and nicotine to bash e-cigs. For whatever reason, we could put on tinfoil hats and talk conspiracy theories, but for some reason there&#39;s a group of organizations and people that they just want to give this terrible impression of e-cigs. What I found recently, which is horrifying, is that where we were once pounding our chest... I&#39;ve helped 65,000 customers plus, and I would say back in 2009 there was no internet information about this. There was no the E-Cigarette Forum, and that&#39;s where everybody convened and we discussed it all. We improved the product. We put pressure on manufacturers. I mean, truly, truly a consumer driven industry this has been.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And started by mostly all consumers, right? I mean none of us were... I mean, I was just a self-employed person, gainfully unemployed is what I always call myself, but I would never have wanted to start a business and have employees. That&#39;s just not what I like to do.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> This was so important, and as a consumer, I needed other smokers to understand. We were proud and strong and what is happening lately is that we&#39;re being shamed again.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Exactly.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I was a smoking... It&#39;s terrible. I mean, I had people harassing my sales people in the stores with these inflammatory articles.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Let&#39;s talk a little bit about that, because I&#39;ve seen that too, and I want to back up just a little bit and talk about how interesting... This is an issue that&#39;s fairly new to me. My job at IWF is sort of to examine these sort of moral outrages and these public health panics, and to look at the data and say, &quot;Okay, is this actually something to worry about?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so this sort of panic about e-cigarettes is fairly new, and as I was examining it, it was really interesting to me to see how the public health officials, and I agree with you, this is a coordinated and intentional effort to misinform the public, particularly moms, and so, when I was looking at this, it was interesting to me to see that it used to be, &quot;Don&#39;t smoke.&quot; Right? And, &quot;Smoking is bad.&quot; And it&#39;s slowly changed to, &quot;Nicotine is bad. Nicotine.&quot; And the reason is is because they want to include now vaping in the hysteria of smoking. They want it to be one big package, and so I agree with you that it&#39;s intentional, and it&#39;s interesting to see how the narrative has changed from smoking is bad to nicotine is bad, because again, as I said, they can then capture nicotine or vaping.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> You also mentioned about how you&#39;re being shamed. This is also, I think, intentional to try to sort of shame people or embarrass them or somehow paint vaping as as-bad as smoking. Expand on that harassment that some of your employees and other people have have experienced.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, I think, when you said they&#39;ve infuriated the moms, I mean, they&#39;ve weaponized soccer moms is what they&#39;ve done.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They have a genuine concern-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Sure.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> ... which we share, I must say. As an owner of a business, I share that concern, and I recently just fired someone who had sold to underage. I mean, it&#39;s just an unacceptable thing. Nobody, no smoker like me, wants a kid to start smoking or vaping.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Of course.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> But recently my nephew was at home, and a neighbor had crossed the street, and he was working at his workshop. He had a logo of mine that he was painting that I had cut out of wood. This guy, once he found out what that logo was for, started harassing my nephew. I mean, it&#39;s just the everyday public with strangers are coming up to you and looking down their nose at you because of what they&#39;ve been reading.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah, yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It&#39;s frightening, and it&#39;s actually sad, because once we&#39;ve-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Meanwhile, at liquor stores employees are, as far as I&#39;ve heard or seen, have not been targeted like this. And if people were really concerned about the dangers to teens, they would look at there&#39;s some pretty high numbers of teen drinking. I also wonder why people aren&#39;t more concerned with the leading cause of death of teenagers, which is auto accidents, and it&#39;s not all drunk driving. It&#39;s just reckless driving. And so, you&#39;ve got two major problems in the teenage community and the young adult community. Again, the leading cause of death of young adults and teens is auto accidents, and there&#39;s very high levels of under-age drinking.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I always feel like this vaping issue is really distracting from issues that are important to young adults and teens. When you look at actually the data, the CDC data, and I know you know this too, that this whole idea... Of course, fine. Let&#39;s just say that. Let&#39;s say we both agree. There should be no teen vaping. Teenagers should not have this stuff, and we don&#39;t want anyone to pick up the habit who hasn&#39;t previously smoked. But the numbers are really inflated. It&#39;s only like 5% of teenagers who smoke habitually.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> What the CDC is doing is asking teenagers, &quot;Hey, did you smoke once in the past 30 days?&quot; And they&#39;re also not accounting for non-nicotine vape liquid that&#39;s available that many of these teenagers are using. So I think the teen vaping issue is again being used to demonize retailers and the entire industry, and they&#39;re forgetting that people like you and the tens of thousands of people that you&#39;ve helped actually use vaping to cut or to cut out of a really dangerous habit of smoking.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah. That&#39;s what I was going to add. It&#39;s almost that there&#39;s no offset for our lives, right? We&#39;re discounted. You know?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I was a smoker, so my life doesn&#39;t matter anymore?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, there&#39;s 35 million smokers. There&#39;s 14, or 13 million I believe now, of us that vape. And there&#39;s like, &quot;Wait, don&#39;t we count? Where do we get added into the decision to ban flavors?&quot; Which I was asked yesterday if you think vapers will turn back to smoking. And I&#39;m like, &quot;Well, yeah, because there&#39;s not going to be any vape shops left. Where are they going to get their stuff?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They&#39;re going to go... I mean, cigarettes are readily available.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Tell me... I have a question about, now, lot of people think the vape industry is all JUUL. It&#39;s all JUUL. Everything is JUUL, right? Disabuse our listeners of that, because that&#39;s not true, right? Tell us about the individual vape shops and people like you who manufacture their own flavors, and tell us a little bit about that.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, I think again, because this was a cottage industry, there were no e-liquids available in the United States when I started my shop, and I was having, because of the supply chain issues with being seized at the border... I mean, I had to come up with a solution because I had people that were depending upon me to not buy the next pack of cigarettes.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah, right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So we started manufacturing e-liquid ourselves, and really, it started as a supply chain issue. I had to guarantee that they had something available, whatever it was to keep them from buying their next pack of cigs.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So, I mean, I think that became... We all did that. And obviously now e-liquid is... There&#39;s a bunch of manufacturers in the United States.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> But there&#39;s also the idea that there&#39;s individual vape shops, like Cignot. It&#39;s not like there&#39;s a CVS of vape shops that that are just... I mean, it&#39;s usually individually-owned shops that people who, a lot of them were former smokers, cared passionately about the smoking cessation qualities of e-cigarettes and have helped other people sort of kick that habit, so it&#39;s not just the liquid. It&#39;s also the shops themselves. I mean, this is largely a small business run industry. Correct?<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It is. And you get private guidance in a shop. You go to Jewel&#39;s or 7-Eleven or whatever, you don&#39;t have a clerk that really understand the product. That&#39;s explains, &quot;What are you smoking now? How much do you smoke?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Can you imagine? Yeah, I&#39;m trying to imagine asking the 7-Eleven guy.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> You&#39;re trying to get your doughnut, and the guy&#39;s educating him on vaping. The value add that these small vape shops have... I mean, we&#39;re former smokers, and we get it. We can completely relate. We&#39;re like built-in addiction counselors, technically.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And what JUUL did was they made a marvelous product that people loved, right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I had been in contact with JUUL prior to them getting big to get my view of how effective is this. Is this really going to work for an adult smoker? And so, I mean, their intention was the adult smoker. Unfortunately, it is such a cool product that the kids dig it.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And then you&#39;ve got Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids putting up all these-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh, they&#39;re just... yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> ... social media. I mean, they did all the advertising for JUUL to the youth has been through Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean JUUL&#39;s company... Yeah. They targeted a younger demographic.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Explain that a little bit. Explain that a little bit, because it&#39;s funny. You and I know this issue, and we&#39;re like... It&#39;s funny, because sometimes when I write about this issue, my editor has to say, &quot;Julie, you need to explain this paragraph because you&#39;re speaking like you&#39;re talking to an audience who understands this issue.&quot; Talk a little, explain that further, on the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, their advertisements. How they actually through scaring kids actually promoted the very product they don&#39;t want kids to have. Just just take a moment to explain that.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah, I mean, they were saying things like, &quot;My god, everybody&#39;s doing it.&quot; They had these cool graphics with worms under skin. I saw a recent YouTube video, and it was these kids were making, this young man, was making fun of all these commercials that they did.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They did one recently with a heavy metal guy, and kind of a monster-like guy, &quot;Nicotine!&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right, right, right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> That&#39;s the Tide pod challenge. That&#39;s just putting lights around it for a kid who&#39;s... That&#39;s what kids do. They buck the system. And they&#39;re like, &quot;Yeah.&quot;<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, so they&#39;ve helped create this whole, what they call, an epidemic. And while you say it&#39;s true that kids aren&#39;t using it daily, everybody wants to take a puff. They&#39;re not going to be uncool at a party, and that&#39;s being charted as a user of vaping products. [crosstalk 00:17:42]<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, and as a mom, I don&#39;t want my kid... I&#39;ve got a middle schooler, and he&#39;s come home and talked about it a little bit, and I certainly talk to him about it. As a mom, if given the choice between... it seems like the Democrats.. all right, and I don&#39;t mean to because that&#39;s not true. There&#39;s as many Republicans who are worked up about this. For goodness sake, President Trump announcing that he might ban flavored products. I mean, so I take that back because there&#39;s as much hysteria on the right as the left on this issue.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> But I feel like, so often it&#39;s an abstinence 100%. Look, I also, I don&#39;t want my child to try vaping, but he might. I certainly would rather him experiment with vaping, which is 95% less harmful than smoking than trying cigarettes. And that&#39;s what&#39;s so frustrating to me is that there seems to be no recognition that kids are going to probably experiment with stuff. There&#39;s a much safer version of that, and that kids think is cooler than smoking because smoking smells and you can&#39;t exactly hide it from your parents. There&#39;s all this. There&#39;s smelly smoke, so it&#39;s not... My sister&#39;s attempts with the towels under the door when we were little didn&#39;t work. My mom could smell that on the other side of the house.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> What were we thinking?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I know. And so there seems to be, and this... Go ahead.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> There&#39;s a great deal of data that says that abstinence is a failed strategy, right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, &quot;Don&#39;t have sex.&quot; So what are you going to do? Ban condoms?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, there&#39;s a reality that humans enjoy pleasure. Kids like to experiment. They enjoy bucking the system. And one of the issues with what they&#39;re doing is you can&#39;t lie to kids, especially now.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I remember when I was very young and I was hearing all the marijuana madness. We didn&#39;t have the Internet. I went to the library, and I started reading Mother Jones, and they were lying to me. Public Health was lying to me. So I smoked anyway because... And you know what? That&#39;s a credibility issue. I would have to tell you that I really don&#39;t believe what Public Health says anymore, because it&#39;s always for some monetary reason or to orchestrate some panic, or to control the masses or another-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right. Well let&#39;s not forget, okay, and I&#39;ve actually written about this quite a bit. Public Health always had these sort of oops things where they... Let&#39;s talk about eggs and cholesterol, right? For 20 years, my poor father didn&#39;t have a proper omelet, okay, or an actual fried egg in the morning or any scrambled eggs. He was eating those awful Egg Beaters because the doctor said, &quot;Hey, You know you have to worry about your cholesterol. You have to watch your cholesterol.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And then, no kidding, two years ago, HHS and the public health sector comes out and was like, &quot;You know what?&quot; And they actually... This is the actual statement. &quot;Cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern.&quot; I mean, can you imagine? My poor father has been having egg whites for 20 years, and then suddenly that the HHS is like, &quot;Actually, we were wrong.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so, I only bring that up because they do that with... I mean, every 10 days coffee&#39;s going to kill you. And then, you know what? Actually coffee keeps you living longer.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It&#39;s like margarine and butter.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh, exactly.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah. It&#39;s the whole margarine and butter thing. I mean, I guess I&#39;ve always... My mother was a farmer from Italy, right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So I&#39;ve always been brought up, &quot;Stay as close to the earth as possible.&quot; Right?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, that&#39;s the way it was designed. It&#39;s the system.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Sure.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Don&#39;t mess with the system. I mean, I think Public Health has really lost its credibility, and if there&#39;s any saving grace about what is happening now with these THC deaths is that it is so obvious that they have just utilized this to bash e-cigs when our industry, the electronic cigarette industry containing nicotine meant to get smokers off of cigarettes, deadly cigarettes, it is so obvious that they are throwing Public Health to the wind to bash a product that they&#39;re against.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Absolutely.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> And in doing that, they are killing people. We are-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> They&#39;re killing people. They are literally... Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They are killing. Yes.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> This hysteria, this claims that they&#39;re going... and what makes me so mad. I&#39;d like to talk about two other things. First of all, I am a mom of three boys. I&#39;m going to face this stuff, and I feel like when I see women that are afraid of this... A friend of mine sent me a listing from her Listserv, her neighborhood Listserv. I don&#39;t know if you have those or these Yahoo groups.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> If you live in a certain ZIP code, you have these, and actually they&#39;re great fun, because usually these little neighborhoods spats are hilarious to watch, but they have started that. In this one neighborhood where my colleague lives, they&#39;ve started up an anti-vape moms&#39; group, right? One of these stroller brigades, where the moms get up there, and they&#39;re all indignant and angry about some particular thing. This one is about vaping.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I&#39;m sitting there thinking to myself, &quot;Gosh, I wish I could go talk to them and reassure them.&quot; One of the things that you hear from a lot of moms is, &quot;Oh, well look at these flavors, bubblegum and mango and creme brulee and all this stuff.&quot; When I do have an opportunity to talk to a mom and I say, &quot;Actually they&#39;ve polled adults, former smokers and what flavor, and you&#39;d think, &#39;Well it&#39;s tobacco. They want tobacco.&#39; No, they want these delicious flavors. Who wouldn&#39;t want the taste of bubblegum over tobacco?&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> And so one thing that frustrates me is one of the calls is to ban particular flavors. So they&#39;d leave the tobacco flavor out there, but to ban certain flavors. Menthol is another one, and it frustrates me so much because that is going to drive people back to smoking if you take the flavor away. The very reason they&#39;re vaping is because they like all these different flavors. And again, polling shows, adults like this. It&#39;s not just kids.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Tobacco flavor and e-cigs and vaping is flavorless. Period. You have to add in flavor. There are attempts to create tobacco flavors. And you know, when I did a 70 year old that&#39;s been smoking Camel, whatever, you do transition them initially to something that might be like a Camel flavor, and it&#39;s not a good semblance of the flavor. It&#39;s hard to create a decent tasting tobacco flavor or something that&#39;s similar, because you cannot duplicate combustion, and that&#39;s part of it.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So, you try that, but then their taste buds start coming alive in about a week and a half and they&#39;re like, &quot;Man, this tastes like crap.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah, yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They do. Why shouldn&#39;t they have strawberry sherbet for their vape?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They like that flavor.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> But people act like adults don&#39;t like the... What adult doesn&#39;t like the flavor of bubblegum? I mean, it&#39;s not just... They act like this is, &quot;Oh, this is definitely, an attempt to attract kids.&quot; But that&#39;s just wrong. It&#39;s actually not true.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Again, they&#39;re discounting me, and I&#39;m going to say me. They&#39;re discounting me, because I&#39;ve been baking peach for 10 years or pomegranates.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Why do you think I should go back to having to taste Marlboro?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Why do you think you should impose that upon me? Don&#39;t I get... Because I&#39;m a smoker, I don&#39;t get to have pleasure?<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, but again, the argument does make sense to some people if they say... Because most people don&#39;t know that you&#39;ve been smoking pomegranate and peach for 10 years. Most people think that a lifetime smoker who switches to vaping would want the taste of tobacco, would want the flavor of tobacco, so they don&#39;t understand, and they think that the only reason these vape shops and individual companies have developed these sweeter flavors, is just to attract the kids, and I feel like that&#39;s a really important thing that we need to debunk.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That people, like you said, they have... Their taste buds come alive and their preferences may change, and they&#39;re still getting the satisfaction of the nicotine without all the harm, but they&#39;re getting it with a really nice flavor. It frustrates me that people think the only reason these sweet flavors and fruit flavors exist are to get the 13 year old hooked. It&#39;s just not true, and that&#39;s why it&#39;s so important and so great that you&#39;re out there talking about this.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Sometimes I say, &quot;Oh, well, there&#39;s a poll that says that most vapers actually... &quot; And it&#39;s like, &quot;You&#39;re talking data. You sound like a robot.&quot; It&#39;s great to hear it from people who actually have, like you said, used peach. Peach is something that I&#39;m sure a lot of kids would be attracted to, but in fact, you&#39;re a grown adult, and that&#39;s your flavor of choice. That&#39;s so important for people to know.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It is. It is. I pointed this out recently. Again, these THC cards. They&#39;re finding when they test these vape pens that they&#39;re collecting in schools, that a great many of them are containing THC, which is very dangerous, obviously, when it&#39;s on the black market. But they come in all kinds of lovely blue raz and lovely flavors just like e-liquid does, and if you think that a kid is picking up a THC card and vaping that for the blue raspberry flavor, and not to get buzzed-<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> The blueberry flavor. Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Yeah, that&#39;s crazy.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah. That&#39;s crazy.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> They&#39;re picking it up to get the buzz.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right. Yeah, I&#39;m glad you wrapped the THC issue. And again, this is another misconception, and we&#39;ll finish on this, but it&#39;s true that this is not... These infections and these respiratory issues and deaths have not been connected to FDA-approved liquid. That&#39;s correct. Right?<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Oh, yeah. It&#39;s water-based. This has to do with an oil, and you know who&#39;s been fabulous in reporting this is Leafly Magazine. They were on this from almost day one. There was a new additive thickener out there. And again, there is this big chasm of... It&#39;s a regulatory issue where the FDA cannot create standards for additives because it&#39;s illegal federally, while states are rushing to make them legal but don&#39;t have the science departments to do this testing.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So that regulatory chasm needs to be bridged somehow, but you could not put oil in an e-cig. It is a different type of atomizer. It would clog it up. You would get a dry hit, and it would burn out. It would not be vapable, and I can&#39;t tell people, because I have customers that come in. &quot;Are these safe?&quot; And I&#39;m like, &quot;Yeah, you can&#39;t put oil in this stuff. It would kill your atty in a day.&quot; You would know, believe me.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yeah. Yeah.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> It&#39;s water and oil. You would see it, right, in your tank. It would separate. So yeah, this THC thing... And again, when the CDC called it e-cigs, perhaps they&#39;re not aware of our terminology, but I was talking to a painter the other night, a young man, and this is two nights ago, so this is very recent. And I said, &quot;Hey, are you aware that there&#39;s black market THC carts, and that&#39;s what&#39;s causing the lung issues?&quot; And he was like, &quot;No, I thought it was e-cigs.&quot;<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right. Right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> So they&#39;re using the wrong term, and even after being told.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Oh but they&#39;re using it, and it&#39;s not... Look, I happen to believe this is intentional. It is a way to stoke fears using people&#39;s sort of, I hate the word ignorance, but really using people&#39;s ignorance of how these particular devices actually work, and that there is the existence of a black market. What frustrates me so much is they&#39;re claiming, &quot;Oh.&quot; Now Public Health is saying they&#39;re concerned about this black market of illicit products, yet in the same breath, they&#39;re talking about making other things illegal. How do they think black markets grow? They&#39;re going to make it worse.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> I do think that they were slow to point out to people that this is THC related, and this is oils, and these are things that are not FDA-approved that you&#39;re bringing into your lungs. They were slow to really make that distinction, because I think they did use it as an opportunity to make people afraid about e-cigarettes, in general.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> They&#39;re desperate for a smoking gun for something that shows harm, and because they don&#39;t have that, they thought this was their opportunity. Absolutely salivating at the idea of making people more afraid and damaging the industry.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Absolutely.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Maybe I&#39;m paranoid. Maybe I&#39;m conspiratorial.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> No, I think they underestimate our resolve.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I mean, these saved my life, and I&#39;ve got 65,000 people, probably 80% of which have converted for life, and it&#39;s saved their life. They underestimate how hard people will fight to save their own life.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, that is-<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Just a minute. 1300 will die today from smoking-related deaths.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> That&#39;s right.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> You can never, ever lose sight of that, of the big picture.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well listen, Victoria. You are a passionate advocate and so informative, and I&#39;m so glad you came on.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, thank you.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Tell our listeners where they can find out more about you if you have a website or talk a little bit about your work for the trade association. Just give them a little bit of information on how to reach you.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> Well, I&#39;m the current president of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois, and certainly if you&#39;re a business owner in Illinois, you should be part of our membership. That website is sfacoil.org, and if you have any questions, I am pretty much the sole customer service person for my company online, and I take it very, very personally. If you have any questions on vaping, my email address is Vicki, with an I, @cignot.com, and that&#39;s like cigarette not, C-I-G-N-O-T .com. I&#39;m happy to answer any questions you ever have and give you studies or whatever I need to do for you.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> All right, so instead of going to the 7-Eleven and trying to ask the 15 year old clerk hard questions about vaping, it&#39;s much better to support a small business-<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I&#39;m there.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> ... a small business like Cignot, which is helping thousands of people every day, and Victoria helping thousands of people every day kick a very dangerous habit. I&#39;m really glad that you were able to quit smoking, Victoria. I think it&#39;s a wonderful story, and it&#39;s so important, and really hope that these products are left in the marketplace for other people who are struggling with that addiction.<br /> <br /> Victoria V.:<br /> I do as well. And thank you for having me on, Julie.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> Well, this was a great podcast. Victoria, you were a great guest. Thanks so much.<br /> <br /> Julie Gunlock:<br /> We hope you, the listener, take away something new from today&#39;s conversation, and if you enjoyed this episode of She Thinks, or like the podcast in general, we&#39;d love it if you could take a moment to leave us a rating or review on iTunes. This helps ensure our message reaches as many Americans as possible. Share this episode and let your friends know they can find more She Thinks episodes on their favorite podcast app. From all of us here at IWF, remember, you&#39;re in control. I think. You think. She thinks.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2810704/Julie GunlockMon, 30 Sep 2019 07:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumA Vaping Ban Won’t Solve The Problem, It Will Only Make It Worse<p> The usually quiet first lady spoke for millions of mothers when she&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://twitter.com/FLOTUS/status/1171095740510277632?s%3D20&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1568907698960000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH6ij8dU0dhXCBDJWVDF-ocl7zmYA" href="https://twitter.com/FLOTUS/status/1171095740510277632?s=20" target="_blank">expressed her concern</a>&nbsp;about growing rates of teen vaping. Indeed, Americans have reason for concern: rates of teen vaping continue to inch up and there have been alarming reports of fatal respiratory illnesses associated with vaping.</p> <p> But before banning e-cigarettes or flavored vaping liquid,&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-considering-ban-on-nontobacco-flavored-vaping-products-11568220504&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1568907698960000&amp;usg=AFQjCNH5QIOxF9LxRoNNtIhY4hU3HtBH0w" href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-considering-ban-on-nontobacco-flavored-vaping-products-11568220504" target="_blank">as the president has threatened</a>, Americans&mdash;particularly concerned moms of teens&mdash;should consider the bigger public health picture and the risks teens face.</p> <p> Traditional smoking&mdash;especially among teens--is going down. This is likely in part because kids who want to experiment with smoking are trying vaping instead of traditional, combustible cigarettes. And while many teens do vape, many don&rsquo;t do it habitually and others vape nicotine-free vape liquid, which means they&rsquo;re not vulnerable to addiction. Still, everyone wishes kids would abstain entirely from smoking anything, but if teens are going to experiment, it&rsquo;s better to do so with something that&rsquo;s less addictive and less harmful.&nbsp;</p> <div> <div style="clear:both;"> &nbsp;</div> </div> <p> And vaping&nbsp;is&nbsp;far less harmful. E-cigarettes have been in the marketplace for more than a decade and in that time, the broad consensus is that vaping is much less harmful than traditional cigarette smoking. In 2015,&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1568907698960000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHf0h-7frqr3AIsoCw0OUasIazPxg" href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review" target="_blank">Public Health England</a>&nbsp;declared e-cigarettes to be 95 percent less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Even former FDA administrator (and harsh critic of vaping) Scott Gottlieb has recognized their efficacy in helping smokers quit, saying his agency&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://beta.washingtonpost.com/opinions/scott-gottlieb-e-cigarettes-are-not-off-the-hook/2019/09/04/b1da5358-cf3a-11e9-b29b-a528dc82154a_story.html&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1568907698960000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGF96dpg3FIKTcUJDBo79Ngrlr66A" href="https://beta.washingtonpost.com/opinions/scott-gottlieb-e-cigarettes-are-not-off-the-hook/2019/09/04/b1da5358-cf3a-11e9-b29b-a528dc82154a_story.html" target="_blank">&ldquo;...saw them as a less harmful alternative to cancer-causing tobacco for addicted adult smokers.&rdquo;</a></p> <p> For those who switch from cigarettes to vaping, the health outcomes are markedly positive. These positive health outcomes are so good, in fact, that the UK&rsquo;s National Health Service actually encourages people to switch from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarette devices.&nbsp;</p> <p> In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration actively regulates the e-cigarette industry. To ensure their safety, the agency has conducted thousands of inspections where these devices and e-liquids are manufactured and routinely inspects independently run vape shops. The agency regularly publishes manufacturing guidance and has consistently sought product removals if something is deemed unsafe.&nbsp;</p> <p> The biggest problems associated with vaping arise from black market vaping products, which are unapproved and can be dangerous. Ongoing investigations into recent deaths linked to vaping suggest these incidents are the result of contaminated ingredients and the use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cartridges that are being sold on the black market. Public officials ought to aggressively seek to keep these and other illegal products off the street.&nbsp;</p> <p> However, banning products that are heavily regulated and FDA-approved won&rsquo;t solve the problem. It will only make it worse: Banning safe vaping products will push all e-cigarette users into the black market, making injuries and deaths more likely.</p> <p> Access to vape products isn&rsquo;t just about teens, but is an issue of great importance to the millions of adults for whom vaping is their best cessation hope. In fact, a recent study by British researchers published by the&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1568907698960000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHOgL8TEBpM894qA82j83LWhzBR1w" href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808779" target="_blank"><em>New England Journal of Medicine</em></a>&nbsp;found e-cigarettes are twice as effective in helping smokers quit as nicotine patches and gum.&nbsp;</p> <p> Contrary to the narrative that only teens use &ldquo;kid-friendly&rdquo; vape flavors, a&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-018-0238-6&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1568907698960000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGaDZFC-lJg_Og5IOkePP-cgpTj4w" href="https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-018-0238-6" target="_blank">recent study of more than 20,000 adult e-cigarette users</a>&nbsp;found they prefer fruit and sweet flavored vape liquid much more than traditional tobacco flavored vape liquid. Banning flavors will negatively impact current smokers desperate to quit.&nbsp;</p> <p> Undoubtedly, calls to ban vaping and flavored vape liquids resonate with millions of parents&mdash;like the first lady&mdash;who simply want to protect their kids from any dangerous substance. &nbsp;But vaping bans are unlikely to improve teens&rsquo; health or discourage smoking. Instead they would encourage the use of more addictive and harmful traditional cigarettes and nurture an already thriving black market that is supplying dangerous products to unwitting consumers.&nbsp;</p> <p> More importantly, it would be a blow to the significant and positive public health progress being made because of these innovative products.&nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2810629/Julie GunlockWed, 18 Sep 2019 11:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStatement: White House Vaping Ban Will Hurt Smokers Trying to Quit<p> <span style="font-size:12px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif"><img alt="" height="78" src="http://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/1420413/vcsPRAsset_1420413_127304_499bc201-2874-4694-a582-c30668e74584_0.png" width="250" /></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">Immediate Release:<br /> September 11, 2019</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:22px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif"><strong>White House Vaping Ban Will Hurt Smokers Trying to Quit</strong></span></span><br /> <span style="font-size:18px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif"><em>Developing effective policies to keep teens from vaping shouldn&#39;t sweep aside useful products</em></span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">Washington, DC &mdash; In response to the announcement that the Trump administration is considering a ban on flavored vaping products,&nbsp;<strong>Independent Women&#39;s Forum Center for Progress and Innovation Director Julie Gunlock </strong>issued the following statement:</span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">&quot;This is terrible news for the millions of Americans who continue to smoke and are desperately trying to quit. We know e-cigarettes help people quit smoking. In fact e-cigarettes are twice as effective as other smoking cessation products, like gum and patches. As for flavors, studies show that it isn&rsquo;t just teens using these flavors&mdash;adults too prefer sweet and fruit flavors. We understand the White House&rsquo;s concerns about vaping but the administration shouldn&rsquo;t throw the baby out with the bath water. Recognizing that e-cigarettes are a useful tool in the effort to get people to stop smoking shouldn&rsquo;t be swept aside in the effort to developing effective policies to keep teens from vaping.&quot;</span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">Additional resources from Independent Women&#39;s Forum:</span></span></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">What&rsquo;s the difference between smoking and vaping? And is vaping safer? <a href="http://iwf.org/publications/2803739/Policy-Focus:-E-Cigarettes:-When-Regulatory-Overkill-Actually-Kills">Check out IWF&#39;s policy focus on e-cigarettes.</a></span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">Hear one woman&rsquo;s story about <a href="http://iwf.org/media/2807618/-144-Real-Story-About-Ex-Smoker-Quitting-by-Starting-to-Vape">how e-cigarettes helped her quit smoking on IWF&#39;s podcast.</a>&nbsp;</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">Is there a teen vaping epidemic? <a href="http://iwf.org/blog/2810541/Is-There-A-Teen-Vaping-Epidemic-">View IWF&#39;s article and video addressing teen vaping.</a>&nbsp;</span></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">Did you know women have a low success rate of quitting smoking when they use nicotine patches and gum? Women have a far higher rate of success when they use e-cigarettes. <a href="https://www.iwf.org/media/2805673/Julie-Gunlock-Testimony-Before-US-Food-and-Drug-Administration-Advisory-Panel">Read IWF&#39;s testimony before the FDA on smoking.</a>&nbsp;</span></span></li> </ul> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif">####</span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif"><a href="http://iwf.org">www.iwf.org</a></span></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif"><em>Independent Women&#39;s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren&rsquo;t just well intended, but actually enhance people&rsquo;s freedom, choices, and opportunities.</em></span></span></p> http://iwf.org/media/2810577/Julie GunlockWed, 11 Sep 2019 16:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIs There A Teen Vaping Epidemic?<p> This summer, I wrote a blog about the FDA&rsquo;s crackdown on e-cigarettes and the agency&rsquo;s missed opportunity to create a regulatory framework that supports new and innovative smoking cessation products, which current smokers who are trying to quit desperately need.</p> <p> Embedded in that long-form blog, was some information about teen vaping, arguably one of the major concerns parents have today. Sadly, there&rsquo;s a tremendous amount of misinformation out there&mdash;most of it produced and promoted by the very agency in charge of providing accurate information on health issues.</p> <p> Here what those agencies won&rsquo;t tell you: There is no teen vaping epidemic. Let me repeat that.</p> <p> <strong>There is no teen vaping epidemic.</strong></p> <p> Yes, teens are vaping, and yes, the numbers have risen. Yet, the FDA is inflating the number of teen e-cigarette users in order to make the problem appear worse than it actually is.</p> <p> Why would they do that?</p> <p> It&rsquo;s simple. To generate public support for bans on e-cigarette products (such as the one just instituted in Michigan).</p> <p> The truth is, public health officials hate vaping. While they have reluctantly admitted that e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking (by about 95 percent!) they still hate these innovative products for two reasons: 1) e-cigarettes too closely mimics the physical act of smoking and, 2) e-cigarettes deliver nicotine&mdash;a substance they dislike because it&rsquo;s addictive.</p> <p> To public health officials all addictive substances are bad even if the addiction doesn&rsquo;t lead to any real harm. For instance, I&rsquo;m addicted to caffeine, as are most adults I know but there aren&rsquo;t any real negative side effects of caffeine addiction (besides me being a complete jerk if I don&rsquo;t get at least two cups in the morning).</p> <p> Nicotine addiction, like caffeine, doesn&rsquo;t result in any real negative health consequences (yes, increased heart rates and other mild physical symptoms are related to nicotine but nothing actually dangerous). Yet to a public health official, there&rsquo;s no spectrum of addictive substances ranging from very dangerous (fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, alcohol) to not so dangerous (caffeine and nicotine). It&rsquo;s all BAD and it must be banned.</p> <p> So, let me explain these inflated numbers. The FDA based their &ldquo;teen vaping epidemic&rdquo; claims on a &nbsp;CDC study of teen e-cigarette use called &ldquo;Notes from the Field: Use of Electronic Cigarettes and Any Tobacco Product Among Middle and High School Students &mdash; United States, 2011&ndash;2018.&rdquo; Here is where the report mentions that 78% figure (emphasis mine):</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> Among high school students, current e-cigarette use increased from 1.5% (220,000 students) in 2011 to 20.8% (3.05 million students) in 2018 (p&lt;0.001) (Figure). During 2017&ndash;2018, <strong>current e-cigarette use increased by 78%</strong> (from 11.7% to 20.8%, p&lt;0.001). The proportion of current e-cigarette users who reported use on &ge;20 of the past 30 days increased from 20.0% in 2017 to 27.7% in 2018 (p = 0.008). Among high school students, during 2017&ndash;2018, current use of any flavored e-cigarettes increased among current e-cigarette users (from 60.9% to 67.8%, p = 0.02); current use of menthol- or mint-flavored e-cigarettes increased among all current e-cigarette users (from 42.3% to 51.2%, p = 0.04) and current exclusive e-cigarette users (from 21.4% to 38.1%, p = 0.002).</p> <p> That certainly seems frighteningly high. Yet, the CDC only arrives at that percentage because the agency defines &ldquo;current e-cigarette use,&rdquo; as any teen who has used an e-cigarette <strong><em>once</em></strong> in a 30-day period. Vaping once, twice, even five times a month <em>does not</em> make one a habitual e-cigarette user just like drinking one glass of wine a month does not make you an alcoholic. A teen using an e-cigarette once a month&mdash;while not desirable&mdash;is not earth shattering news, nor is it an indication of some massive problem among teens. Rather it&rsquo;s more reflective of a teen that wants to look cool at a party or fit in with his or her friends.</p> <p> Of course, that&rsquo;s behavior we would all would prefer didn&rsquo;t happen, but it is also worth considering that, if vaping wasn&rsquo;t an option, these teens might instead experiment with much more harmful combustible cigarettes instead.&nbsp;</p> <p> In addition, the CDC did not determine if users were using vaping liquid with nicotine or without nicotine. The fact is, many teens vape using liquid that contains no nicotine. Teens aren&rsquo;t dumb and many, who want to appear to be partaking in the latest fad, are aware that nicotine is addictive. It makes sense that some may want to avoid addiction and therefore choose vape liquid that&rsquo;s free of nicotine. In doing so, they aren&rsquo;t vulnerable to the physical addiction of nicotine. Yet, the CDC didn&rsquo;t check this rather important detail and instead put all e-cigarette users in one large pot of users. And bam, you get an enormous number like 78 percent. Cue parent freak out.</p> <p> To add to the fears about vaping, many parents are told vaping is a gateway to traditional cigarettes&mdash;which, again, are much more harmful than e-cigarettes. Yet, while vaping has increased, the rate of smoking combustible cigarettes has declined. In 2018, only 4 percent of tenth graders smoked in the last 30 days&mdash;that&rsquo;s down from a high of 28.8 percent in 1976! And teen smoking (of traditional cigarettes) is at a historic low.</p> <p> The reality of teen vaping is far less dramatic than what&rsquo;s presented by the FDA and the CDC.</p> <p> Here are the real numbers:</p> <p> According to the CDC, the total number of high school students in 2018 was approximately 14,663,461. Of those, 20.8 percent or 3.05 million were &ldquo;current e-cigarette users&rdquo; which the CDC defines as using an e-cigarette once or more in 30 days. Yet, the CDC also says that, of that 3.05 million, 27 percent or about 845,000 are habitual e-cigarette users (vaping more or equal to 20 times per month). That means, around 5.7 percent of all high school students regularly vape.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s certainly a worthy goal to try to dissuade that 5.7 percent from vaping, but it should also be kept in perspective.</p> <p> What is true is that instead of nicotine, alcohol is the addictive substance most used by teens. Car accidents are the leading cause of accidental death among teenagers&mdash;many caused by drunk driving. These are the issues parents should be focused on.</p> <p> Parents need to talk to their kids about alcohol and about safe driving. Vaping is certainly something that parents should also discuss, along with avoiding cigarettes and drugs. But the hysteria about vaping is pushing out issues that demand parental attention. It&rsquo;s important to look at the data and to understand the way the CDC is measuring teen vaping and misrepresenting the issue, to the detriment of teens.</p> <p> Want to learn more? <a href="https://youtu.be/0E2bfX9hHsk"><strong>Watch our video: Is there a teen vaping epidemic?&nbsp;</strong></a></p> <p> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0E2bfX9hHsk" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2810541/Julie GunlockThu, 5 Sep 2019 13:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum