E-cigarettes use a heating element to turn special liquids into an aerosol that users breathe in, and this action is known as vaping. Vape companies originally hailed the practice as safer than smoking and even argued that it could be a tool to help smokers quit. However, there is an increasing amount of research that shows vaping could actually be considered the new Big Tobacco. Here are 3 reasons people are making this claim:
1. Vape Companies Have Links to Big Tobacco
One thing that’s becoming clear is that many vape companies have strong links to Big Tobacco. For instance, Juul is one of the biggest vape producers, and it’s been reported that Altria owns about 35% of this company. Altria is a parent company of Philip Morris USA, which makes Marlboro cigarettes.
Such links make it less surprising that vape companies took a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook and targeted young people. It’s estimated that more than 3.6 million U.S. youths were vaping in 2018, and most of these youths were in high school or middle school.
2. Vape Companies Are Facing an Increasing Number of Lawsuits
There have been many lawsuits leveled against Big Tobacco companies over the years, but a 1994 court ruling was one of the most important. The judge in this case concluded that Big Tobacco companies had lied to consumers about the dangers of smoking. This resulted in tobacco companies having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to each state. For example, Illinois received $100 million from this settlement for fiscal year 2020.
Vape companies might now be facing the same sort of legal challenges for marketing to minors and downplaying the use of nicotine. In November 2019, Juul, one of the biggest vape companies, was the subject of 5 lawsuits filed by 3 school districts in Washington state and the attorneys general of California and New York.
3. Research Shows Vaping Can Damage the Lungs
Vaping is also showing a disconcerting tendency to cause lung damage in its users. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 2,700 people have been hospitalized with vape-related lung injury as of early February 2020. Further, this lung injury issue has led to 64 total deaths.
An increasing amount of research is claiming such lung injuries from vaping are due to toxic chemicals, which is one of the issues with smoking; researchers have identified chemicals like vitamin E acetate, diacetyl, propylene glycol and heavy metals in many vape liquids. All these chemicals are known to have dangerous effects on the body.
Where Do We Go From Here?
As more research is done on vaping, the practice is likely to be regarded as just as dangerous as smoking. We’re finding this out fairly early on, which may help prevent many lung-related illnesses. Early detection of the dangers of vaping may give today’s young people the chance that the generations that grew up with cigarettes never got.
Researchers hope to uncover more information about how and why vaping damages the lungs. For now, the best option for people of all ages is to avoid vaping and inhaling secondhand vapor. If you’re currently vaping, health experts encourage you to quit.
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