Juul is once again proving their reputation is unwarranted, as the major vaping brand is once again giving money to research the impact of vaping on teens.
Smoking has been such a problem over the years, hardly any of us don’t know someone whose life has been taken or significantly altered by tobacco. As such, it’s important that we always do whatever we can to help end smoking. Vaping has proven to millions of users it’s an invaluable harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. However, many are still skeptical of their full impact. A popular belief is that independent vaping companies are targeting teens and looking to get them hooked on smoking. Despite plenty of evidence disputing these claims, they continue to persist.
Regardless, one of the most successful vaping companies in the world, Juul Labs, is once again proving their true intentions. They recently pledged another $7.5 million to study the effect of vaping on teens. Both sides of the vaping debate had plenty to say about the news, with supporters happy and critics claiming this is little more than a publicity stunt. Despite the contested reactions, it’s excellent anytime more money goes toward funding independent and peer-reviewed research on vaping.
As 2019 continues to be a tough year for Juul Labs in the public eye, they’ve kept the work they started going by recently donating $7.5 million to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. While not much is yet known about the research and what it will specifically cover, we know it will be aimed at understanding how to prevent e-cigarette usage by minors. The donation was set up to allow for full autonomy of Meharry College, as well as ownership of the research and right to publish regardless of what Juul Labs thinks of the results. Researchers at the Meharry Center for the Study of Social Determinants of Health are excited to begin this vital work.
Critics of vaping have been skeptical of the news, and some suggest it’s merely a way for Juul to improve their image. Juul Labs has denied this sort of motivation at every turn, and their track record shows several years of continued work on preventing teenage vaping. This includes an ad campaign aimed at teaching parents how to tell if their child has started vaping, as well as pushing the boundaries on vaping technology with innovative geo-fences which lock devices in specific places such as schools and hospitals. This isn’t even the first time they’ve donated millions for research. In an official statement from the President and CEO of Meharry College, Dr. James Hildreth, said: “the grant from Juul Labs gives Meharry the unique opportunity to take the lead on a new line of fully independent research in this critical area of public health.”
A Helping Hand For Big Tobacco
While most people probably assume vaping is a significant problem for teenagers thanks to the overwhelming media coverage, the independent research we have on the topic is much more benign. A report of over 60,000 students conducted by Action on Smoking and Health concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever vaping more than once or twice. This means even less could possibly be ending up a smoker because of vaping. It even explains the often scary teenage vaping numbers. It’s easy to make anything sound like an epidemic if anyone who ever tried something once is equatable with daily users.
It’s even easier to support vaping once you take a more in-depth look at the harm reduction evidence. We’ve known for years vaping is at least 95% safer thanks to Public Health England, but did you know we’re still getting data like this all the time? A report out of Roswell Park from just a few months ago concluded the toxicants in cigarette smoke are 93% higher than in e-liquid vapor. Even more impressively, a study from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
With Juul, and the vaping industry at large, under increased fire, it’s always fantastic to see more money put into independent research. While we may not know everything about vaping yet, the last decade of research has made it clear it’s a much safer option than continued smoking. If we don’t support moves like this, it may only be a matter of time before our legislators swoop in and regulate the industry to death. After all, if they don’t understand the value, why support the device? That’s why we should all work together to teach those around us about the importance of e-cigarettes. The more smokers who understand what’s at stake, the easier it will be to protect our rights.
Do you think it’s smart for Juul Labs to keep donating money for research? What’s the most important thing we don’t know about vaping yet? Is vaping a useful smoking cessation tool for you? Let us know what you think down below, and don’t forget to check back here or on Facebook and Twitter for more news and articles like this.