From the New York Times:
Tobacco companies previously made cigarettes a tool for dieting and a topic of high fashion. They made smoking a feminist act. They did not just assure the people that it was safe to smoke; they utilized doctors to drive their brands. And the more they came to know their particular solution, the longer they promoted cigarettes to the young. Most people who don’t begin smoking at the end of adolescence never will. The cigarette makers knew that. They utilized cartoon camels, images of Santa Claus and epic cowboys in their own ads.
It helped that their key ingredient was extremely addictive. It also helped in that they were willing to be less than truthful about its impact. When concerns arose about nicotine addiction, cancer and heart disease, they kept labs at bay by playing up scientific doubt. They then purchased off scientists and concealed corporate propaganda as independent study. By now their deceptions were exposed, a new generation of smokers — promising billions of dollars in industry earnings — was hooked.
From the late 1990s, Big Tobacco was finally brought to account for its clinics, and a string of public health policies and rules were put in place that over the last three decades have essentially eliminated the scourge of adolescent smoking. And in recent decades, we’ve watched history repeat itself.
The tobacco industry is pushing a new sort of smoking apparatus — the e-cig or vape pencil — that it says is far healthier than conventional cigarettes: no tobacco, no tar, just smoking and flavored vapor. These devices, the industry says, will ultimately help us adult smokers stop or suppress our dependence. But here is the rub: E-cigs have brought smoking back into trend for teens. As a result, the price of the new cure may be another generation exposed to the exact same addiction we’re still battling.
Smoking kills a few 480,000 individuals annually — more than AIDS, automobile accidents, illegal drugs and suicide joint — and costs $170 billion in annual health care expenditures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E-cig makers say, and some health experts believethat e-cigs can help lower these dreadful numbers, because they contain far fewer toxins than conventional tobacco smokes. The thinking goes that if most of current smokers switched to these devices, the burden of disease and death could be radically cut.
E-cig manufacturers have reacted to that strain with a bait-and-switch that would make their huge Tobacco predecessors proud.
However, Juul, the company who’s largely the most responsible for the surge in adolescent vaping, scrubbed its Facebook and Instagram accounts and consented to radically limit sales of its youth-friendly flavors, like mango, crème and fruit. But the company received a $12.8 billion dollar investment in December in the tobacco giant Altria, a maneuver that will allow Juul products to be displayed alongside regular smokes in the nation’s physical retail outlets. For its part, Altria volunteered to remove all its flavored-pod products in the marketplace until the youth vaping outbreak was solved. Coupons for these products, however, are still available online on sites like Vapordna Coupon 2019 and other blogs.
In the meantime, a slew of Juul copycats are making their way to local convenience stores in direct defiance of an F.D.A. rule banning the sale of new e-cig products following August 2016. The company Juul is promoting itself as a health-conscious company, even as it grows new, possibly more addictive vaping solutions. The foundation’s stated aim is to reduce the global health burden of cigarette usage. But according to tobacco sector watchdogs, leaked P.M.I. files suggest that its true aim is to encourage the company’s own vaping products.