E-cigarettes are at the center of a slew of severe lung problems, legal challenges and investigations in the US.
Dozens of people – most of whom are teenagers, concentrated in the Midwest – have been hospitalized with damaged or even collapsed lungs after vaping.
The US Food and Drug Administration is trying pushing to get e-cigarette companies to disclose more toxins in their e-liquids.
Health officials are investigating the underlying causes of their illnesses, while the FDA tries to decipher the link between seizures and e-cigs and demands that Juul hand over information about its marketing practices.
Juul – scrambling to repair its reputation – has filed a series of lawsuits and complaints with the International Trade Committee (ITC) against companies selling knockoff pods, including sweet flavors like the ones it pulled from shelves.
And as the FDA gears up to review and regulate e-cigarettes, Juul and a host of other members of a vaping companies are now gearing up to sue the agency too.
The last several weeks have been filled to the brim with e-cigarette news and scandals. DailyMail.com breaks down the vaping mayhem sweeping the US.
Juuls and e-cigarettes in general are the subject of public health outcries, FDA battles, legal challenges and the suspects in a slew of lung injuries and seizures sweeping the US (file)
THE FDA WANTS TO REGULATE E-CIGARETTES – FINALLY – BUT VAPE MAKERS FILED A LAWSUIT TO DELAY
After much heel-dragging – and flack for it – the FDA is going to regulate e-cigarettes.
It didn’t have the authority to do so until a 2016 expansion of its domain over the tobacco industry.
But until last year, the FDA declined to act on its broader authority, kicking the deadline further and further down the road – at one point, all the way until 2022.
At last, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb declared teen vaping an epidemic last September, after which the agency raided Juul Labs, and started making moves to establish regulations over the exploding e-cigarette industry.
A court ultimately ruled that the deadline for e-cigarette companies to submit their products for FDA review and approval would be May 2020.
Today, an organization of these companies filed a lawsuit to try to get the deadline changed. This would be the sixth time the deadline was shifted, the companies claim – though the other five times were determined by the FDA.
Juul is among the 800 members of the Vapor Technology Association, which claims that the rapidly approaching deadline is anti-competitive because it will be impossible for smaller companies to meet.
‘It is time for FDA to stop moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game to the detriment of our manufacturers and small businesses,’ said Tony Abboud, the group’s executive director, in a statement.’
DOZENS OF MIDWESTERN TEENS HAVE BEEN HOSPITALIZED WITH LUNG PROBLEMS AFTER VAPING
The number of Americans hospitalized for serious breathing problems linked to vaping has surged to 22.
In Wisconsin, 12 people have been admitted to hospitals for e-cig-linked lung trouble, as have six in Illinois and four in Minnesota.
And many of the patients are teenagers or otherwise healthy young adults.
The slew of sick e-cigarette users comes just after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report revealed that at least 127 Americans have had vaping-related seizures.
Little is known about the chemicals in e-cigarettes or exactly how they might be wreaking havoc on the lungs, but all of the patients have vaping in common, raising the alarm among doctors in the Midwest and nationwide.
Now, health officials and hospitals in Wisconsin and Minnesota are investigating the incidents in search of commonalities and an underlying cause the suspect is linked to vaping.
US OFFICIALS INVESTIGATE SURGE OF 127 SEIZURES LINKED TO VAPING
Doctors across the US noticed a pattern among a surprising number of seizure patients without a history of neurological disorders over the last decade: they had used e-cigarettes.
The FDA began investigating the trend in April, and last week put out another call for people who’d experienced the same to come forward.
‘Additional reports or more detailed information about these incidents are vital to help inform our analysis and may help us identify common risk factors and determine whether any specific e-cigarette product attributes, such as nicotine content or formulation, may be more likely to contribute to seizures,’ said FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless in a statement.
It’s not yet clear if vaping is, in fact, the cause of these seizures.
However, possible toxins in e-cigarette liquids are suspects.
Poison control centers in the US have received 2,091 reports of poisoning from vapes so far this year.
E-CIGARETTE MAKERS NEED TO DISCLOSE MORE TOXINS IN THEIR PRODUCTS, FDA SAYS
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to double down on its demands for transparency from e-cig companies by requiring them to disclose 19 additional toxic chemicals the agency suspects are common in e-liquids.
Last week, a Yale University study became the latest to reveal previously unknown toxins released when a Juul pod is heated.
On the heels of that discovery, the FDA is calling for the public’s opinion on adding the additional e-cig chemicals to its list of 93 harmful or potentially harmful substances that tobacco product-makers must include in their labels.
Toxins found in e-cig flavors and vapors, like ethylene glycol, diacetyl and glycidol, which can cause permanent damage to the lungs and nervous system, would be added to FDA’s warning list.
‘As our oversight and scientific knowledge of tobacco products has evolved, so too should our requirements for manufacturers and importers to provide information about the chemicals or chemical compounds in their products that cause or could cause harm to users and nonusers,’ said FDA Commissioner Sharpless.
‘We remain committed to meeting the important goal of ensuring the public can clearly understand the real and potential risks of tobacco product use as we work to protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death.’
JUUL SUED OVER LOOKALIKE SWEET-FLAVORED PODS – BUT SOME CLAIM THE COMPANY IS STILL SELLING ITS OWN TO TEENS
Juul pulled flavors like creme brulee, mango and cucumber from stores in November 2018, after the FDA leveled charges that these pods were meant to entice underage users.
Copy cats saw that as an opportunity and began selling knockoff sweet- and fruity-flavored pods that work with the Juul device.
In response, Juul filed lawsuits and complaints with the International Trade Committee, claiming that these sweet knockoff pods infringed their intellectual property.
But Meredith Berkman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping, says that the flavored pods – both Juul’s and its copycats’ – are still driving teen vaping.
‘We can still find them, the flavors that Juul says are not available at retail stores,’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘The issue that concerns us the most is that theses flavores have been allowed to remain on the market despite significant research that flavors hook kids and initiate them into nicotine use.’