Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I understand that we don't want our kids vaping or smoking, but banning flavored juices is the wrong way to go about it. All it's going to accomplish is deregulation of the flavored juice market. People will buy unflavored juices and add their own (possibly dangerous)flavoring agents at home.

Also, it is in Big Tobacco's best interest to make vaping as difficult as possible. Think about it, all these cities with vape bans haven't banned cigarettes yet, right? Make it extremely difficult to vape and people will resort to smoking.

On a more philosophical note, are we really OK with the government reaching this far into our personal lives?

The issue isn't really about the juices themselves though, is it? It's more about the advertising allegedly targeting young kids. I think regulating the advertisement of these products is probably the most sane course of action here.

Also, it is in Big Tobacco's best interest to make vaping as difficult as possible

Not true. Big Tobacco owns (partially or outright) most of the big players in the vaping industry. Vuse is owned by Reynolds, Vype is owned by BAT, and Altria has a massive stake in Juul.

It's in Big Tobacco's interest to ensure vaping is easy and viewed as an alternative to cigarettes. It's also in their interest to keep the product in snazzy packaging with candy flavors that appeal to younger consumers.

> with candy flavors that appeal to younger consumers.

Because no adults enjoy candy, or flavors? That's exclusive to "younger consumers" only? The vast majority of people who vape are adults. They also enjoy flavored e-juice. Maybe we should put stuff in alcohol that makes it so disgusting no one wants to drink it as well by that logic. Ban flavored alcohol and mixers... too many kids getting drunk off peach schnapps because it tastes good. Ban Coke in bars so people can't add it to their rum. It doesn't matter if the overwhelming number of people consuming it are (legal) adults...because there are some kids abusing it (which is already illegal).


From this study:

> Current flavored (including menthol) tobacco product use was highest in youth (80%, aged 12-17 years); and young adult tobacco users (73%, aged 18-24 years); and lowest in older adult tobacco users aged ≥65 years (29%). Flavor was a primary reason for using a given tobacco product, particularly among youth. Eighty-one percent of youth and 86% of young adult ever tobacco users reported that their first product was flavored versus 54% of adults aged ≥25 years. In multivariable models, reporting that one's first tobacco product was flavored was associated with a 13% higher prevalence of current tobacco use among youth ever tobacco users and a 32% higher prevalence of current tobacco use among adult ever users.

How is flavor the #1 reason for use? I don't get how they determined that.

I'm betting the question was something akin to "Why do you prefer vaping over smoking traditional cigarettes?" or "Do you prefer flavored smoking products over unflavored?"

While the argument does have some minor merits, I'm personally against removing flavors from smoking products.

Just because some adults enjoy Sour Gummy Worms doesn't mean that the primary market isn't younger consumers. Don't be dense.

> It's also in their interest to keep the product in snazzy packaging with candy flavors that appeal to younger consumers.

It's also no coincidence that the same industry has been smacked down for the same behavior in the past. Eternal vigilance is required to make these companies behave themselves.

Absolutely. Thus, it's worth reading the restrictions the 1998 accord (the aforementioned "smackdown") that the four biggest tobacco companies entered into for lying to the government, and consumers, about whether cigarettes cause cancer.


Maybe the US market turned out very different, but the UK market has be pushing 90%+ coming from independent vape shops, stalls and some discount chains selling e-liquids from non-tobacco connected vape specialists. It's where just about everyone seems to get their switch to vaping when they decide to give up smoking.

The big tobacco owned products like Vype are almost always seen in petrol stations, off-licences and small shops that sell, or formerly sold tobacco and cigarettes in addition to their main business. Prices for liquids are 3-4x the price of the vape shops. You still sometimes see these places selling the silly, tiny e-cigarettes that look identical to a king size smoke, with LED where the tobacco used to burn. You won't ever see these anywhere else. I've seen exactly one person using one of these compared to hundreds using regular vape pens and box mods.

Juul was late to the UK party, and I've yet to notice anyone using one of those, though I have seen one or two garages with a few packs of cartridge refills, but they don't seem common.

GP isn’t wrong and neither are you. The industry is so fragmented that Big Tobacco owning the 5-10% players means they do own the biggest players.

I've had the same experience here in Southern California.

TL:DR - Flavored Juices make up 80% of the market, ban flavors will leave big players left to own the market.

Opinion: There are many ways we could regulate this better than an outright ban. Banning things will only lead to black market sales. We should go to all brown packaging, ban any outside advertising, actually fine shops who don't comply and by using education and transparency explain to the youth why it is detrimental to their health.

I cannot even remember how many flavored alcohol ads I saw during the NFL games over this past weekend....yet they get a free pass...

I agree we have to do something, but whenever a politician says, "It's for the kids" it tends to be for anything but and they are using that line to pull the heartstrings of parents.

Why isn't Juul being regulated? They are partnered with Altria.

There was recently a merger between Phillip Morris and Altria



>Altria supports a flavor ban, which would benefit a combined Phillip Morris- Altria. The one-note iQOS is a much more appealing option when pitted against tobacco ejuice flavors, which simply are not as popular with adult smokers as the sweeter varieties.

>With no fruit and dessert flavors to compete with, it would boil down to who has the best tobacco flavor. Altria clearly thinks the iQOS would win that contest. The edge is even greater when it comes to novices and smokers who have never tried vaping.

>Where Juul ends up, and if it will be pitted head to head against the iQOS is another market disruption that is nearly impossible to predict.

>We are fast approaching a scenario that resembles regulatory capture. The practiced hands of the tobacco industry are the largest and most influential stakeholders. They are pushing for regulations that destroy the competition and leave their own products untouched.

>How the public would react to this sleight of hand and a restructured vaping industry dominated by Big Tobacco and Juul could end up making this power move a pyrrhic victory.

I find it funny I posted this exact same comment (Minus the TL:DR/opinion on different regulation) earlier which received up-votes on a different thread.


This time, not so much....

Maybe it is because the other thread didn't get as much traction to allow enough people to vote? shrug

Most people who vape here in southern California don't use Juuls, or Blus or whatever, they use box mods with tank atomizers and juices that come in bottles made by smaller privately owned companies.

I don't think the data supports that statement. People who identify with vaping as a part of their lifestyle, perhaps, but the casual smoker?

Pretty unlikely that most people aren't buying the products of the big producers. Otherwise they wouldn't be the big producers.

(And Reynolds is now wholly owned by BAT.)

>Also, it is in Big Tobacco's best interest to make vaping as difficult as possible. Think about it, all these cities with vape bans haven't banned cigarettes yet, right? Make it extremely difficult to vape and people will resort to smoking.

Maybe, but vaping has (had?) the reputation of being "safer" than cigarettes. I doubt there would be a 1:1 of potential vappers to smokers.

Anecdotally, I know people who started vaping without ever having touched cigarettes before.

The English (maybe rest of UK too I dunno) approach is a voluntary code of practice for shops that sell vapes and juices to check that people have been smokers before selling to them.

I think this is the right approach for the UK. I'm not sure it'll work in the US.

How does that work in practice? Honor system? Asking to see a receipt from a cigarette purchase?

It's just an honour system.

That's my point. Banning flavoring probably won't lead to as many using cigarettes.

But it will lead to more using cigarettes. If it’s any more than the 20:1 safety difference then it’s still a net loss.

I'm confident there are significant numbers of people (read: kids) who would have never taken up cigarettes but took up vaping as the cool new way to get cancer.

What cancer causing ingredients are there in vape liquids?

Possibly nicotine.


>Tobacco use is considered the single most important man-made cause of cancer that can be avoided. The evidence that nicotine is involved in cancer development is reviewed and discussed in this paper. Both tobacco smoke and tobacco products for oral use contain a number of carcinogenic substances, such as polycyclic hydrocarbons and tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNA), which undoubtedly contribute to tobacco related cancer. Recent studies have shown that nicotine can affect several important steps in the development of cancer, and suggest that it may cause aggravation and recurrence of the disease. TSNA may be formed from nicotine in the body. The role of nicotine as the major addictive component of tobacco products may have distracted our attention from toxicological effects on cell growth, angiogenesis, and tumor malignancy. Effects on cancer disease are important aspects in the evaluation of possible long-term effects from sources of nicotine, such as e-cigarettes and products for nicotine replacement therapy, which both have a potential for life-long use.

it is the same reason we have the opioid mess, nice sounding but stupid policy decisions; namely beating on doctors correctly prescribing pain killers to those who needed them to the point they no longer did.

like the current bugaboo over vaping causing deaths the CDC crows about yet statistics show its not legal over the counter products.

sensationalism sells papers and gets votes. exploiting ignorance with something that sounds truthful if not plausible has always been the game. when all else fails, "for the children" is the go to.

>On a more philosophical note, are we really OK with the government reaching this far into our personal lives?

It's not reaching into your personal life. It's reaching into businesses to stop them from selling damaging and highly addictive products. Banning tobacco would be optimal but not feasible since too many people are already addicted.

So are you in favor of banning fast food and alcohol as well?

None of these, including smoking, are possible to ban due to the addictive qualities. But indeed there should be initiatives to wean people off them and reduce the damage they do.

I'm not sure I agree that advertising is the most sane course of action here - if you take tobacco as a reference then the intervention that causes the highest decrease in usage is tax (and higher price coincidentally usually leads to lower usage rates especially in younger people because they're more price sensitive). So if banning is too far to go, then a middle ground might be to have a very high tax on the product in order to 1) decrease usage and 2) put money into a fund in case all these users end up getting a new form of cancer in 20 years that we didn't see coming and that we (society/the state) have to collectively pay for

From one perspective I would be in favor of this as long the tax on cigarettes is higher than the tax on vaping products. That way both appear unattractive, but cigarettes more so.

From another perspective I wouldn't be in favor of higher taxes on vaping products because it would be yet another tax affecting primarily lower income people.

So, while I don't think it's a bad idea, I think I would need to do some more research on the ramifications before supporting it.

Why do you say it would primarily affect lower income people? You mean because the cigarette smoker user base skews low income? I guess it affects them in the sense that some pay more, but many others quit something that is harmful which "helps" them (but of course net negative if you value personal will higher than the health cost and believe that people who smoke are entirely rational)

But agreed, in light of the current evidence that vaping seems to be better than cigarettes the tax should be lower, ideally pushing people who smoke to switch to vapes as an alternative

> Why do you say it would primarily affect lower income people?

For the reason you stated here. It's more a conflict in personal philosophy I guess.

Fair enough, lots of people do consider tobacco and "sin" taxes to be regressive. The counter I said is just a reframing of it, I honestly have mixed feelings about it too

I just switched to unflavoured base + nicotine shot. It's tastes fine and costs about 80% less. I can buy 1 litre(!) of base for $15, a premix of flavour 60ml costs the same!

Yeah, I make my own juice as well, though I do flavor mine, usually with fruit or mint flavors.

A 60ml bottle of commercial juice easily costs $15-20.

I buy my nic, PG, and VG from Liquid Barn and my flavors from a variety of sources (though mostly through Nicotine River). My materials cost for 60ml of homemade juice is only around $1.53 per bottle (not including the bottle itself, which you can recycle from commercial juice, or you can buy some, which only costs like $1/bottle). That's one hell of a cost savings!

That's made up of approx $0.33 of nicotine base, $0.09 of PG, $0.33 of VG, and $0.78 of flavoring. I buy PG/VG in 1000ml bottles and flavors I use a lot of in 2oz bottles, so I'm saving a bit by buying in bulk, but it still should only cost around $35 for the ingredients to get started in DIY ejuice - the cost of around 2 bottles of commercial juice. Grab yourself 500ml each of PG/VG, 125ml of nic base, and a handful of flavors and you have enough materials for at least 10 60ml bottles of ejuice (and you'll probably have PG, nic, and flavor leftover, the VG is by far the most used ingredient).

Yep, I've made my own juice before as well. For me, I buy the pre-made juices most of the time because of the general convenience.

I find going down the store the inconvenience, hence the step up to 1 litre quantities. Lasts months.

Also since moving to Germany regulations force u to mix the flavour yourself, so the labour for flavour is greater.


All people are the people who view themselves as having the most reasonable point of view.

>On a more philosophical note, are we really OK with the government reaching this far into our personal lives?

If I had a nickle for every time someone with high income said "there ought to be a law" I'd have a very high income.

From my understanding, many of the flavored juices contain Vitamin E, which we're just now finding out is potentially deadly when inhaled (hence the recent deaths). It's a largely unregulated industry already when it comes to safety of peripheral ingredients. Wouldn't it be very costly to start scrutinizing each manufacturer's ingredients? Do you know what you're really getting if you decide to buy some vaping products?

The recent deaths come from vaping THC, not nicotine [1]. Vaping THC is a mostly unregulated industry because cannabis is illegal at the federal level. Most reports call it "vaping related deaths" which is misleading because it's not the substance most people are vaping, the cause of the deaths is mostly unregulated THC vapes.

[1] https://www.nbcnews.com/health/vaping/indiana-reports-its-fi...

The legality of THC has little to do with the fact that ingredients of many household products across the board are not scrutinized to the level of safety that would have prevented this kind of outbreak from happening in the first place. Can you provide any details on what federal agency & team is inspecting nicotine cartridge production lines or imports in the US?

I'd argue the legality does matter, since people have been vaping nicotine for years without a huge rash of deaths being associated with it, while THC vape carts have started killing people very recently and in increasing numbers. Something about THC carts is more deadly than nicotine carts. Whether anyone is inspecting nicotine carts or not, people aren't dying from nicotine carts and tons more people use nicotine carts than THC carts.

Something about THC carts is killing people, while nicotine carts are not. In most of the states where people are dying, THC carts are a black-market item while nicotine carts are available legally. If legal nicotine carts are killing people, the business can be shut down and people held responsible. If black-market THC carts are killing people, the responsible party is not a legal entity that can be easily shut down.

Government inspections or not, anything you buy on the black market is inherently more risky than something sold legally through a legal entity.

This whole argument is built on the premise of the items being black market products, yet I still have trouble understanding what that exactly means here. What is defined as black market? Where is the line drawn, if there is a line?

Marijuana was 100% illegal for nearly a century, it's more legal now, yet the deaths are recent. I am very certain that there is some level of consumer bias toward buying supposed "underground lab" vaping products, having a higher amount of trust in them because marijuana is "legal" now. See where this might get confusing?

This is part of the black market for THC carts in the Midwest: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/wisconsin/2019/09/...

> From my understanding, many of the flavored juices contain Vitamin E

That is incorrect; specifically the "many" part. Vitamin E Acetate was found is black market(illegal) THC cartridges in the midwest. Vitmain E acetate is used in THC oils to increase potency. Legitimate THC oil producers in legal states do not use Vitmain E Acetate in their oils.

Nicotine juices are a completely different industry.There would be no reason for Nicotine juice producers to use Vitamin E acetate.

I understand why you would be misinformed though, because the articles on the subject have been very reactionary and exaggerated in order to stir up media frenzy and drive views and clicks.

>I understand why you would be misinformed though, because the articles on the subject have been very reactionary and exaggerated in order to stir up media frenzy and drive views and clicks.

It would have been great if we could have had this conversation without going there. One could easily say the same about some of your claims regarding the Vitamin E only being found in black market samples, and only in the midwest. Also, what is defined as a "legitimate" producer? Do you think every company out there that has a product in a supermarket follows every single law and regulation on the books?

Weren't those only regarding THC cartridges?

"Only" THC cartridges? There are more smokers of marijuana than those of nicotine in some demographics.

You shouldn't conflate nicotine vapes and THC vapes, they're completely different.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact