The White House cancels meetings with e-cigarette industry leaders
Under continued rumours of a potential e-liquid flavour ban across the United States, various vaping industry leaders had set up appointments with the Trump administration to voice their concerns and opinions on the controversial topic. However, on Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday morning, vaping consumer and industry organizations received notice that their meetings with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) were cancelled. The emails sending the notice also stated that the rule was “no longer under review.”
Far from good news, many pro-vaping organizations have expressed their concern that a decision had been made with no input from vapers and the companies that serve them. Furthermore, Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, expressed his frustration with this notice, calling it a “slap in the face” and referencing the plight of the small business owners who were looking forward to their meetings in the White House.
It should also be noted that the final scheduled meeting with the OMB, before cancelling the rest, was with the anti-vaping group Truth Initiative. Accompanying this group were representatives from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association. During this final meeting, “youth advocates” from Tobacco-Free Kids and representatives from Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe) delivered a petition supporting the flavour ban.
JUUL announces 650 employees with be laid off
On Nov 12, 2019, JUUL confirmed that it will lay off 16% of its workforce, as the e-cigarette giant reorganizes its business in the face of increasing regulations and pressure on the vaping industry.
According to JUUL, these layoffs will cut costs by nearly $1 billion and is necessary to “right-size” the business. The majority of these layoffs will come from JUUL’s marketing and government affairs staff. In their place, a bare-bones marketing team will focus their efforts on direct marketing to adult smokers in a way that does not seem as if it is targeting underage consumers. JUUL has also suspended all broadcast, print, and digital advertising in the U.S.
In the same statement made by JUUL, all the employees being laid off will receive separation packages.
The CDC finally targets vitamin-e acetate as a cause of EVALI
In the ongoing investigation of the EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury) outbreak in the United States, the CDC has finally announced that illegal THC liquids and vitamin-e acetate are both primary causes of said injuries.
To come to this conclusion, researchers at the CDC tested lung tissue samples from 29 case patients and found that in almost all instances vitamin-e acetate was found. These samples were gathered from patients in 10 different states, confirming the outbreak has one common cause, rather than any sort of geographic variation.
While this discovery is monumental in identifying and combating cases of EVALI, the CDC is still hesitant on calling vitamin-e acetate the only cause of injury. As the health protection organization continues its research, they’re still warning consumers that this discovery is not yet sufficient enough to rule out the possible contribution of other chemicals.
British Columbia introduces a sales tax hike on vaping products
In response to concerns over youth vaping, the B.C. provincial government has decided to significantly hike the provincial sales tax on vaping products. This sales tax is part of the province’s 10-point plan to combat youth vaping and was announced by Health Minister Adrian Dix, Finance Minister Carole James and Education Minister Rob Fleming.
The new tax will raise the PST on vape products from seven per cent to 20 per cent. According to James, “when you make a product more expensive and harder to access, use will decline.”
In addition to the increase in tax, the plan will also see the nicotine content in vaping products limited to 20mg/mL. The province will also move to work towards banning certain flavours that it considers appealing to the youth.
Some of the other regulations listed in the 10-point plan include; plain packaging, explicit health warnings, and restrictions on advertising.