The Rise of Disposable Vapes: What Happened to EVALI?
In recent years, teen vaping and the Juul epidemic dominated news cycles. With the same intensity as the coverage on COVID-19, the public was repeatedly exposed to alarming phrases like “Teen vaping, Juul, epidemic.” The term EVALI became associated with this issue, but what happened to it? And how is it connected to the surge in disposable vapes?
The Manipulative Narrative
Night after night, this narrative was fueled by Dr. Gottlieb, who seemed determined to propagate fear at every opportunity. However, he conveniently omitted crucial details, such as the fact that the illness was primarily linked to black market products, not those sold by legitimate retailers. The narrative was largely based on anecdotal “youth tobacco survey data” and a marketing study funded by the FDA, which branded it as a “youth vaping epidemic.”
Restrictive Policies and False Pretenses
The response from public health agencies mirrored their approach to COVID-19. They implemented anti-flavor mandates, imposed heavy taxes, and placed burdensome penalties on businesses operating in the sector. This solution sacrificed consumer liberty and manipulated public behavior, all without considering the impact on consumers, smokers, or the entrepreneurs aiming to address the longstanding problem of smoking-related diseases and deaths in the United States.
Public Health and Competition
Public health agencies are resistant to competition that challenges their user-fee system, which is inherently corrupt and built upon what can only be considered fast track bribing schemes from tobacco and drug manufacturers. When a product emerges outside their regulatory purview, addressing issues like smoking, they respond with animosity. This hostility mirrors the campaign against vaping and its advocates, reminiscent of the prevailing public health narrative during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you challenged it, you were “on the wrong side of science.”
Trump’s Executive Order
The frenzy created by public health agencies prompted an executive order from President Trump, who later expressed regret for his involvement. The executive order preemptively banned all prefilled flavored pods until the FDA’s Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) submission deadline process had passed. Notably, the order included an exemption for “closed-looped” single-use devices.
Market Disruption and Government Intervention
This bureaucratic misinformation led to changes in the marketplace. Disposable vapes, which were previously available alongside Juul products for years, gained prominence due to government intervention. Small businesses suffered, while Chinese Tobacco Monopoly Board licensed and endorsed manufacturers enjoyed the benefits.
Disposables are also dominating the cannabis and hemp derived market segments as well. The FDA has requested regulatory authority over cannabinoids with written and verbal pleas to congress as recently as July 2023.