It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but the FDA recently put all but the final nail in the coffin of the vaping industry by denying millions of applications to market and produce vaping products for distribution in the United States. The decision effectively killed a large number of small to mid-size producers of flavored vaping products while delaying its decision for those owned by larger corporations like Juul, Vuse, and NJOY. While serving as essentially the same products, Juul, Vuse, and NJOY apparently benefit from being billion-dollar corporations which, for reasons known only to the FDA, mean that the agency needs more time to review their specific cases.
Many in the medical community celebrated the move. Dr. Osita I. Onugha, thoracic surgeon and assistant professor of thoracic surgery at Saint John’s Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health, tells healthcare blog VeryWellHealth that “everything we know about [vaping] is bad. There’s no way that putting any kind of product into your lungs is going to be a good thing.” Other healthcare officials cite a sharp increase in youth vaping as the onslaught of an “epidemic” of the activity, while others bring up the vaping injuries that took over the news in 2019, even though those injuries were found to be the result of black-market THC cartridges that had been cut with vitamin E acetate.
Others see the move as a nonsensical overreach that effectively puts people in more danger by taking away a less harmful alternative to smoking while simultaneously leaving the tobacco industry untouched. “It’s literally harm reduction to vape rather than to smoke combustible tobacco,” said Brooke Feldman, co-founder of the Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Network, to the same healthcare blog. Feldman sees vaping as a possible “off-ramp from combustible tobacco,” which is the same argument made by millions who allege improvements to their breathing and physical capabilities since switching to vaping from smoking traditional cigarettes.