Monumental Month for the E-Cig Industry
November 2018 is now in the books and it may turn out to be one of the most pivotal months in the history of the vaping industry. For good or ill, where we move from here will be heavily influenced by events that were set in motion during this pivotal month. Here is a recap of the November to remember. There is no doubt that the fallout from the last 30 days will be felt for years to come.
V2 Out of Business
The big month was kicked off by news that Juul had purchased VMR brands, makers of the V2 series and an established e-cigarette brand. The purchase was made in late October but V2 was out of business
for good as of November 2nd. This was a huge blow to their many loyal customers who prefer 808 threaded tanks and hassle free cartridges. If you are a fan of this classic and reliable tech, products like the Vapor Titan
are quite comparable.
Vapor4Life has no shortage of V2 compatible carts
and products that are ideal for former V2 customers that have been left high and dry, but we still view V2 going out of business as bad news for both their employees and the industry as a whole.
Here is our complete guide to V2 alternatives
. This article provides a rundown of all of the V2 flavors and the most comparable e-juices still on the market. The Auto Vapor Zeus
is the perfect upgrade for anyone who used the original V2 and V2 Pro devices.
Another Vaping Myth Debunked
On November 2, the same day that V2 was shuttering their operation, a new study was released in the journal Inhalation Technology
. Greek researcher Konstantinos Farsalinos and Brad Rodu, University of Louisville professor of medicine, dismantled a widely publicized John Hopkin’s study that declared toxic levels of metals were present in e-cig vapor.
For a complete recap of both studies and an examination of other zombie myths about vaping that never seem to die, check out “Debunked: Toxic Metals In E-Cig Vapor Study
Not surprisingly, the debunking of the toxic metals myth received nowhere near the column space that the alarmist study on vaping did. The upshot of the new study: Hopkin’s researchers measured the metals found in vaping in terms of environmental exposure. If you actually looked at how people vape in the real world, 150 puffs a day for a total of 5 to 10 minutes, the levels of metals in e-cig vapor are miniscule.
The amount of vaping necessary to hit the established toxicity benchmarks could not be achieved under almost any scenario. So how much would you have to vape to receive exposure to toxic levels of aluminum? About 1.5 tons of e-juice a day. A very pricey habit indeed.
FDA Moves to End Teen Vaping
The proposed FDA e-cig regulations
were leaked about a week before the official announcement on November 15. It had been known since the summer that the “teen vaping epidemic” had put e-cigs in general and Juul in particular in their regulatory crosshairs.
The new FDA e-cig regulations
banned the sale of fruit/dessert flavored e-juices from gas stations and convenience. They also enacted stricter age verification rules for online retailers. The FDA press release
made it clear that their new policies were based on two critical assumptions. The first assumption is that convenience stores and other brick and mortar outlets are incapable of adhering to age verification laws. This is argument is undermined by the fact that convenience stores had a 96.7% compliance rate during FDA administered checks earlier this year.
The second faulty pillar of the FDA’s approach is that fruit/dessert flavored e-juices exist in large part to hook underage customers. This is one of the zombie myths about vaping that refuses to die. It makes sense that minors prefer sweeter flavors, the FDA’s own research shows that nearly 2 in 3 adults do to.
At Vapor4Life, we have no interest in selling our products to children. We exist to provide adult smokers with an enjoyable cigarette alternative that is free from tar, ash and smoke. As a result, we make a point of performing our due diligence and then some.
Iowa Attorney General Questions FDA Regulations
On November 14, the day before the FDA dropped the hammer on the vibrant e-cig industry, the Iowa Attorney General blasted the new FDA e-cig regulations
. He expressed concerns about how the new rules might end up costing the lives of adults looking for cigarette alternatives.
In his tautly reasoned letter to the FDA
, Iowa’s Attorney General (AG) Thomas Miller adopted a humane and rational stance: “Young people suffer significant harm when a parent or other significant people in their lives die or are incapacitated by smoking-related disease.”
Juul Pulls Sweet Flavors From Retail Stores
The reverberations from the FDA’s moves will hit brick and mortar stores hardest. Juul, which has about 75 percent of the e-cig market, pulled their sweeter flavors from all outlets except their own e-commerce website. This went beyond what the FDA required, as these products could still be sold legally at vape shops. Gas stations and convenience stores will be losing a lot of business. Of course in rural areas, access to vape shops is more limited and this is yet another obstacle to adults looking for cigarette alternatives.
Blu Tightens Online Age Verification...Doesn’t Pull Flavors from Retail Stores
Unlike Juul, the company believed to be a major target of the FDA regulation, Blu e-cigs won’t be disappearing from your store shelves. Blu is manufactured by Fontem Ventures, a unit of tobacco giant Imperial Brands. They announced a review of product packaging and descriptions, potential technological innovations such as child locks and geo-fencing to limit use by minors. The FDA has hinted they are willing to fast track technology that reduces vaping by minors, despite their earlier moves to put an end to technological innovation in the e-cig field.
Fontem also plans on initiating a hotline to report sales to minors and other age verification strategies. But notable is their refusal to pull their fruit flavored products from store shelves. Fontem CEO Richard Hill told CNBC
, "We don't think our products are attractive to kids but are for adults.”
Questions have been raised about the FDA’s authority to limit sales of e-cigs and tobaccos through particular sales channels. It looks like this mandate will be put to the test by at least one major e-cig manufacturer.
Myle Vapor Leaving US Market
left the US market on November 15, the same day the FDA’s sweeping regulations were officially announced. The will continue to sell their products to markets where regulatory headwinds are not as fierce. It is always unfortunate when government imposed obstacles make it impossible to do business.
Chicago Cracks Down On E-Juice Sales to Minors
The Iowa AG was not the only Midwest politician who was looking to get the jump on the FDA announcement. On November 12, a press release from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
announced a lawsuit against 8 online retailers with the Cook County Circuit Court.
This was only one part of the Chicago e-juice crackdown
. Also included in the press release were the names of 15 Chicago based brick and mortar stores that were selling to minors and letters to 33 e-juice manufacturers they accused of deceptive practices and marketing to children.
Altria May Purchase Minority Stake of Juul
Altria Group Inc. is in talks to purchase a minority stake of Juul Labs Inc.
This move would permanently change the landscape of the e-cigarette industry. Altria, manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, would obtain an enormous footprint in the fast growing but controversial pod system market with this acquisition. Undeterred by the FDA’s maneuvers earlier in November, they are reportedly interested in purchasing up to a 40 percent stake in Juul.
California Lawmakers Move to Ban All Retail Sales of Vaping Supplies
The bookend of the month is a piece of grim business in California. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle
, 6 California lawmakers are moving to kill off the vaping industry in California. Their plan would ban all retail sales of flavored tobacco and e-juice products and accessories at retail outlets. Vape shops are not exempted.
Brick and mortar stores have enough difficulties without draconian rules that would drive them out business outright. But the law does not end there and imposes serious restrictions on e-commerce sales as well. This is a move towards an outright prohibition on e-cigs in the largest state in the US.