3-Part Series: Vaping Bans, E-Cigarette Marketing, Nicotine Addiction & The Future of Vape – Part 3

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Okay so, in the first part of this series we talked about the history of vaping, how and why it became so popular to vape, and how big the vaping industry is today. In part II, we discussed the possible health risks for those who vape and those who breathe in the second hand smoke. 

We also learned in part II about the addictive qualities of nicotine and the controversy as to whether vaping is really a 'gateway drug' for teens, youth and young adults. The verdict on that is still out, but as time marches on we shall see. Likewise, the long-term health risks of vaping are not completely known yet, so we all need to proceed with a fair amount of prudence and caution.

Now, let us discuss the 'vaping bans' in cities and states, the advertising regulations for the vaping industry, and some of the proposed legislation. In this piece, we will talk about the observations that the nicotine in vaping is often being used as a substitute drug. Also, how vaping is becoming a replacement activity for the physical habits formed from drug addiction and substance dependency. Lastly, let's discuss some of the future predictions of vaping and where all this might be headed. 

The Vaping Bans - Who is Banning Vaping and Why?

Indoor vaping in public places is now banned in 841 cities in the US, and 47 states. Washington State, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have banned 'flavored' e-cigarettes to protect youth. New York banned 'most' flavored vaping solutions. As per Federal Regulations vaping products cannot be sold to minors, just like their regular cigarette counterparts. More bans are expected.

The vaping industry has fired back reminding politicians that 480,000 deaths per year in the US come from diseases and illnesses caused by cigarettes, yet only 20 people have died from vaping. Incidentally, 480,000 deaths represent nearly 20% of all the unnatural deaths in the US. 

The vaping industry also claims the deaths from vaping so far have come from vaping solutions that contain THC. These are products that were not purchased legally, are completely unregulated and aren't supposed to be sold. The industry recommended that the legislation be put on the marijuana industry, not the vaping industry. Over 500 serious lung related illnesses have been recorded, and it is estimated that many more haven't been recorded or had not been correctly linked to vaping.

Is The Vaping Industry Targeting Youth With Advertising and Enticing Flavors?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that the vaping industry is purposefully using targeted marketing and advertising to attract youth to their products. Other consumer groups have complained that the vaping companies are offering scholarships, sponsoring music festivals, and selling trendy flavors as if it is ice cream. Further, the critics note that these companies are all over social media promoting vaping as cool and hip, buying ads specifically targeting younger age groups.  

Health professionals are also crying foul because in 1971 there was a Federal Ban put on TV and radio advertising for tobacco products, and since 2016 the vaping industry was being regulated as a tobacco product. Of course, in 1971 we didn't have social media, cell phones, or the Internet. The FTC, consumer groups and health professionals say 'Big Tobacco' is trying to addict a whole new generation at a time when regular cigarette smoking in the US has reached an all-time low. 

Because nicotine is a neurotoxin it is especially harmful to the developing adolescent brain (cite: 1). It is also highly addictive. We all know how hard it is for smokers to quit smoking. The nicotine hit from e-cigarettes causes a similar addiction. Many addiction specialists worry that banning vaping flavors and/or banning e-cigs altogether might cause our youth to find other alternatives or end up buying bootleg vaping counterfeit cartridges with 'God knows what's in them'. They say this would only exacerbate the problem and bring forth new and even more challenging health issues.

How Addictive is the Nicotine in Vaping Solutions?

Research has shown that 7 in 10 smokers want to quit but can't. Why? Simple, the nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive. It doesn't matter if you smoke regular cigarettes or e-cigs, either way, they both have nicotine which creates intense cravings and if you try to stop you will suffer withdrawal symptoms just like you would any other substance that your body has become dependent on. 

The enticement to try out 'all the new flavors' is only getting you closer to becoming addicted to the main ingredient in nearly all vaping solutions; nicotine. Eventually, you'll want to get cartridges that have a higher concentration of nicotine or you will want to boost the electrical power of your vaping device for a more potent nicotine hit. Just as a smoker will increase the number of cigarettes they smoke in a day. 

If you are addicted to regular cigarettes and you switch to e-cigs to try to quit, you will probably continue to use both, thus not solving the original problem. At least that's what the research shows (cite: 2).

Why Do Those Coming Off Drug Dependency Turn to Vaping?

For those with addictive personalities or the 'addictive gene set', sometimes it's easier to trade one dependency for another. Because traditional smoking and e-cigarettes contain nicotine they can have a calming neurological effect. When a substance dependent person is having withdrawal symptoms while recovering from drugs or alcohol their minds run through an array of emotions. It can be a living hell during those first few days of withdrawal. So, it's no wonder that they often turn to vape as a way to escape some of that negative emotion and/or anger. 

The nicotine in vaping increases heart rate and blood pressure. The hit of nicotine instantly relieves the cravings, just like any other dependency substance. On top of that, the brain gets a small dopamine rush, which seems to temporarily solve all the challenging symptoms. The only dilemma in all this is that nicotine addiction is also a problem. See that point? 

What Are the Future Predictions of Vaping?

The cost of vaping is less than that of traditional cigarettes today, especially considering all the 'sin taxes' added by various states and cities. With kits to make refilling cartridges easy, the costs are bound to stay under that of cigarettes. You can bet however that states needing additional revenue will find ways to increase the taxes on e-cigs, just as many states are legalizing marijuana in order to make money taxing the industry.

We anticipate future innovations in the vaping industry. We expect new technologies, new patents, and more patent piracy. We've already seen a trend in the counterfeiting of cartridges and we can expect bootleg refill kits just as we've seen with ink printer cartridges. For many, this will be a blessing as the costs will be lower. For health professionals, this could turn out to be a curse as more users are vaping unregulated or even completely illegal vape solutions.

Most industry analysts agree there is a lot of growth potential in the vaping sector, but they also agree there will be winners and losers as the rules, regulations, and increased legislation sets in. What happens if the Federal Government bans vaping altogether? No one knows for sure, but some have speculated it wouldn't be pretty.

We may learn the hard way that we've all made a huge mistake and vaping becomes the health crisis of our time? We could have folks in mid-life with debilitating health problems, neurological disorders, cancers, diseases, and addiction. 

It appears that we may have another new generation of addicted smokers, this time vaping away until they can vape no more. Will the nicotine addiction of traditional cigarettes continue for decades to come with vaping? Human beings have always had issues with addiction and substance abuse. Although we are getting smarter today about assisting those who wish to recover get the help they need. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of new ways dependent or substances to become addicted to. 

At LifeSync Malibu we are here to help, not judge. We treat you like family because when you come to stay with us you are family. We hope you've enjoyed learning about 'vaping' and the reality of nicotine addiction. Let us know how we can assist you or a family member. We are here to serve and help you take your life back.

References:

1.) "Associations of E-Cigarette Nicotine Concentration and Subsequent Cigarette Smoking and Vaping Levels in Adolescents," by Nicholas Goldenson, Adam Leventhal, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2017 Dec 1; 171(12): 1192–1199.

2.) "A Longitudinal Analysis of Electronic Cigarette Use and Smoking Cessation," by Rachel A. Grana, Lucy Popova, and Pamela M. Ling. JAMA Intern Med. 2014; 174(5):812-813. DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.187.