Altria Rues the Day it Plowed $13 Billion into Super-Unicorn Juul

Dark Side Comes to the Fore: Juul is the Second Highest Valued US Unicorn, Behind WeWork Which Crashed & Burned. Now it’s Juul’s Turn.

Now there’s Juul Labs, the second most highly valued startup in the US, behind WeWork. WeWork already crashed and burned.

WeWork’s “valuation” was set at $47 billion behind closed doors by a handful of people with the sole purpose of unloading the shares in an IPO at the maximum price. But in trying to entice investors into the IPO, the unofficial number kept falling, and by the time it had plunged nearly 80% to $10 billion, the IPO was scuttled, and the CEO is now facing a palace revolt by WeWork directors.

Now it’s Juul’s turn, for different reasons. A slew of federal and state regulators and state prosecutors have homed in on Juul’s marketing practices and deadly products.

And this afternoon, it was revealed that, according to sources of the Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors in the US attorney’s office of the Northern District of California are conducting what is the first federal criminal probe into Juul. “The focus of the probe couldn’t be learned,” the WSJ said.

Juul, a San Francisco startup, dominates the e-cigarette market in the US. It raised $13.6 billion during its fund-raising rounds. Of this amount, $12.8 billion was invested by cigarette-giant Altria Group [MO] last December, in return for a 35% equity stake. The deal gave Juul a “valuation” of $38 billion.

Juul’s revenues reached $1.3 billion in 2018 and as of February were expected to reach $3.4 billion in 2019. These estimates predated the respiratory illness fiasco.

Juul has obtained this valuation and these revenues by making deadly smoking cool again and calling it “vaping.” E-cigarettes are particularly favored by middle school and high school kids. According to the CDC, last year, the number of middle and high school kids using e-cigarettes jumped by 70%, from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018, with 5% of middle school students and 21% of high school students reporting that they had vaped in the past 30 days.

So far this year, according to preliminary results, the use among high school students has jumped further, with 27.5% reporting having vaped in the past 30 days – flavored products being all the rage.

Vaping was a sideshow until Juul came along in 2015 and figured out how to make vaping look appealing to teens. It turned vaping into a high-growth industry, with Juul at the forefront.

At least eight people are now known to have died in recent weeks and over 500 have been hospitalized with severe respiratory illness after smoking e-cigarettes. Now that the digging has started, the media is unearthing more evidence on e-cigarettes’ connection to these lung illnesses in medical journals, going back to the beginning of e-cigarettes.

And regulators, who’ve been asleep until last year, are getting nervous.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was the first regulatory agency to raise alarms about Juul’s marketing campaigns and started investigating in April 2018.

In May 2019, North Carolina became the first state to file a civil lawsuit against Juul, accusing it of targeting teens and of misrepresenting the strength of nicotine in its products and the addictiveness of that nicotine.

Then the events of the respiratory illnesses boiled to the top. By early September 2019, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that people “consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.”

The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations is investigating the respiratory illness, with an eye on the supply chain of the products that are being vaped.

The FDA is also investigating Juul’s ads and political fliers because Juul is fighting a number of political moves to ban or limit the sale of its products at the local and state levels. Michigan has banned various flavored e-cigarette products. And among the cities to act, its hometown San Francisco has banned the sale of e-cigarettes in the City.

Juul has come out swinging, trying to overturn the San Francisco ban at the November election. To that effect, it has succeeded in getting Proposition C on the ballet. The campaign to back Prop. C is entirely paid for by Juul. In its ads and political fliers backing Prop. C, Juul claims that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes. This is the whole logical reason for its product: claiming that it’s a safer alternative to cigarettes.

But the FDA had already announced on September 9, that it had sent a warning letter to Juul “for marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school.” Specifically, the FDA had ordered Juul to immediately stop making the claim that vaping is safer than smoking.

Under federal law, Juul and other e-cigarette makers cannot make this claim or the claim that vaping helps people quit smoking cigarettes, unless the FDA has given them permission after reviewing scientific evidence that these claims are in fact true.

But even after the September 9 order to stop making the claim, Juul’s Prop. C propaganda has continued to claim that its products are safer than cigarettes.

Over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the FDA will investigate the political materials Juul has been deploying in San Francisco to determine if Juul is still illegally claiming that vaping products are safer than cigarettes — despite the order to stop making this claim.

And Walmart announced on Friday that it would stop selling e-cigarettes at its Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the US after it depletes its current inventory.

This saga amounts to a broad and widening crackdown at all levels on the core of Juul’s business, which is to get young people addicted to its products so that they would buy them for the rest of their lives.

For Altria, which had paid nearly $13 billion for its 35% stake in Juul, it’s a very cold shower. Juul’s actual market value, if it ever gets this far, would be bogged down by the company’s ongoing all-out fight to just stay alive under the continuing onslaught of legal and political fire. And there is a good chance that Altria simply blew most of that $13 billion.

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  126 comments for “Altria Rues the Day it Plowed $13 Billion into Super-Unicorn Juul

  1. ZeroBrain
    Sep 23, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    What frustrates me is that I am having a hard time cashing in on this stupidity. I outsource my investment analysis to Wolf (I pay him handsomely), but these companies (WeWork, Juul) are failing before they IPO and can be shorted.

    • Sep 24, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      UPDATE, Sep. 24:

      “Facing an explosion of vaping-related illnesses, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday ordered a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products in Massachusetts, the latest — and believed to be the furthest-reaching — move to address what state officials called a public health crisis.”

      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/governor-baker-to-make-vaping-announcement-amid-spate-of-lung-illnesses/ar-AAHMp4d

      • sc7
        Sep 24, 2019 at 4:24 pm

        Great, Charlie Faker with another overreaching policy in an attempt to subvert the will of the voters who elected to legalize THC and distract from the disasters under his administration known as DCF and the MBTA.

        My biggest voting regret was this guy. All this will do is push nicotine addicts back to much more harmful cigarettes, while it pushes marijuana users to the black market, where dangerous vitamin E acetate is much more likely to be used. Talk about braindead decision making.

        None of this is to mention the thousands to tens of thousands of local jobs at vape shops that are now at risk.

        • Lars
          Sep 24, 2019 at 10:52 pm

          Come on now. The THC market is well addressed by edibles, oils, and the tried and true flower itself. Nebulizing things might be bad on a routine basis.

        • Bill
          Sep 25, 2019 at 10:30 am

          “…and distract from the disasters under his administration known as DCF and the MBTA.”

          Also don’t forget the ongoing Registry of Motor Vehicles disaster. Mass. deliberately ignored motor vehicle violations by MA-licensed drivers for years, stuffing the violation notices received from other states into large bins in Quincy, MA where they were forgotten. Until seven motorcyclists were killed in NH by a man whose license in MA should have been suspended several times over.

          Isn’t the primary problem with vaping the use of black-market, unsafe vaping products? There seem to be many testimonials by persons who have gotten off tobacco products using non-black-market vaping products correctly.

      • Heath
        Sep 25, 2019 at 12:37 pm

        from the BBC

        “Most of the patients had a history of using vaping products that contain THC, the chemical in marijuana, they said.”

        https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49826732

    • EcuadorExpat
      Sep 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm

      The thing I can’t understand if these stocks could so blatantly (need to) be shorted, why would someone take the other side of that position?

  2. Dale
    Sep 23, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    Altria wanted a piece of the vaping action. They wanted it bad, they got it bad.

    It’s easy, after the fact, to decide that the CEOs and boards involved were blithering idiots. But most of us knew it was a dumb idea *at the time*.

    What’s wrong with these guys?

    • Mike G
      Sep 23, 2019 at 10:30 pm

      Most people are herd animals — followers not thinkers. Including CEOs and boards. In my experience the more pretentious they are about their ‘leadership’ and ‘brilliance’, the less they actually think, and the bigger the disasters that result.

    • Mary
      Sep 24, 2019 at 10:33 am

      What’s wrong with “these guys” is that they are corporations. They do not have to prove that their products are safe. Someone else, usually the victim, has to prove that the products are harmful. Big Tobacco was able to keep marketing cigarettes long after most sane people understood that smoking tobacco causes cancer.

      Then there is the incredible advantage of producing a product that contains an addictive substance. As anyone who has tried to get a loved one to stop smoking knows, the addict will actually work hard to defend the addictive product that’s killing them.

      • Sep 24, 2019 at 12:05 pm

        These companies have made a fortune marketing their products in Asia. In photos from China I don’t see many young people smoking, but public awareness campaigns spread beyond the US on the internet. It could also be a generational thing. No idea if young Asians like THC or how tough the laws might be. China seems like a country devoid of popular culture influences. The Japanese have always had a slightly inverted take on Western culture. For instance one rarely saw drunkenness in Tokyo fifty years ago. One might assume “rat race” drugs like meth and cocaine would be popular, but outside the confines of pop culture sometimes these things fail to take hold.

        • Black Mask
          Sep 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm

          Us plebes are told that we need the threat of a Death Penalty to keep us in line. This seems to be a clear case where corporations and regulators need the threat of a Death Penalty to keep them in line.

          Corporations that kill people should face a corporate Death Penalty. The corporation is shut down, the stockholders lose everything they invested. Anyone foolish enough to loan money to such a criminal enterprise doesn’t get it back.

          Corporate executives should also face a death penalty when the corporations they run kill people.

          Government regulators that allow and approve products that kill people should also face the death penalty.

          Right now, any penalties are just 20 lashes with a wet noodle and then go spend an hour in the comfy chair. Make a billion dollars, then pay a hundred thousand dollar fine. Applying the Death Penalty to people who make and market killer products to children might have a deterrent effect on the next bunch of crooks that want to kill people for profit.

        • Jack
          Sep 26, 2019 at 4:34 am

          Black mask,

          Yet it’s generally people like you who ultimately complain about the Chinese system!!!

          When Some Crooks At Fonera’s subsidiary was found to be criminally liable to poisoning milk products ( baby formula) the Communists didn’t mince words, those AR****holes were duly taken to the local piazza and expended with quick smart!!

          Not for the tender hearted average American!!!

  3. Heath
    Sep 23, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    “Moral panics rarely come out of nowhere and there is a grain of truth in this one. Dozens of people, mainly young men, have been hospitalised after vaping in recent weeks. That is not a lie, but nor is it the whole truth. They were vaping unregulated street drugs”
    Black markets often have quality control issues that the producers are not that interest in solving

    [link deleted by Wolf who doesn’t tolerate promoting this kind of stuff on his site]

    • Sep 23, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      Heath,

      The article you cited — “The Great American Vaping Panic” — is BS, possibly paid for by Juul, as is long-standing tobacco-industry practice. SOME have been vaping street drugs. There is has not been a common thread other than that ALL have been VAPING.

      • JoAnn Leichliter
        Sep 24, 2019 at 4:06 am

        So the street drugs would have been safer if these folks were not vaping?

        • alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit
          Sep 25, 2019 at 3:25 am

          I think what’s happening is, they’re buying a Juul or whatever, then making or buying “bathtub” vape juice because it’s cheaper etc. and we’ve all been raised to think vitamin E is healthy, and they’re getting vitamin E oil and using that in the vape juice. Well, vitamin E is healthy, just not when you breathe it into your lungs.

      • Joe
        Sep 24, 2019 at 4:10 am

        Wolf,
        I caught an episode of Dr Oz and it was explaining the complications from certain vaping products in the lungs actually starts plugging up the lungs from the different oils or chemicals being inhaled.

        • Jack
          Sep 24, 2019 at 8:24 pm

          Joe ,

          Anything, yes anything you inhale into your lungs bears the risk of disease!

          You don’t need Dr. Booz to tell you that. Even “ fresh air” is full of parasites, so people should be free to kill themselves if they so choose!

          It could be alcohol, tobacco, hard or soft drugs, or just mere reading Wolf Street and getting depression from all the good news that he entertain us with on a daily basis! :)

      • Brant Lee
        Sep 24, 2019 at 6:00 am

        I believe, many years ago, the tobacco industry pushed the idea that nicotine was so addictive, it was “harder to quit than heroin”. BS to that too. I believed it for ages until I finally realized it was the HABIT that I was addicted to: That smoke the first thing in the morning, after meals, just going through all the motions, etc.
        There were no withdrawals or cravings when I laid the nasty things down for good. Just a body and mind that felt 100% better.

        • Sep 24, 2019 at 9:18 am

          Brant Lee,

          Yes, cigarette addiction is far broader than nicotine – and that’s why it’s so tough to shake. I admire people immensely who are able to shake the addiction. It takes a huge amount of will and miserableness for the first few weeks.

          In terms of my sister, the very theatrical act of smoking — the gestures and movements, from her fingers to the expression on her face — has become part of her self-image that she has groomed and nurtured since about the age of 13. In almost every picture I have of her, there is either a cigarette or cigarette paraphernalia in it. It’s like her personality is not complete without all the theatrics and imagery of smoking. This is in part why she cannot shake the habit, to this day, despite her cancer.

      • sc7
        Sep 24, 2019 at 6:24 am

        Wolf,

        There is a lot of evidence starting to link this all to Vitamin E Acetate. This, when inhaled, causes lipid pneumonia, consistent with the symptoms of many of those who fell ill. The spike in illnesses can be associated with the appearance of this in black-market THC cartridges. The most typical cutting agent, propylene glycol, has been used for over a decade now, and is often released in hospitals to help sanitize the air. It is also used in nebulizers/inhalers to help deliver lung medication.

        The big challenge in proving the cause here is getting an honest answer from the victims. Those in states that still criminalize marijuana will be hesistant to admit that they smoked a THC-containing cart off the street.

        • FromKS
          Sep 24, 2019 at 10:10 am

          Surprised I had to scroll down this far to find somebody talking about the Vitamin E oil (or acetate).

      • Implicit
        Sep 24, 2019 at 1:06 pm

        Vaping “tubs” that are using non-toxic agents is less toxic than smoking the same amount of tobacco. The debate is regarding the mixture in the tub. My contention is that regular cig smokers would be better off vaping if they do it right (not take humungus hits), and have a legally tested and confirmed safe mixture.
        Smoking combustion smoke directly does more damage to a persons lungs otherwise. It is all good. The companies will take a big hit, and the science/testing will be pushed further for more safety, but vaping is likely here to stay, as are all the products
        that go along with it.
        Most people need drugs and/or alcohol to escape reality ,whether recreationally or otherwise. This will be proven the safer way to smoke once they get the kinks out. I’m sure Altria is aware of this.

      • brady
        Sep 27, 2019 at 7:05 am

        https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/vape-pen-injury-supply-chain-investigation-leafly

        A good article on the likely cause of the vaping illnesses. As a former smoker and vape user, I can attest to the effectiveness of vaping as a smoking cessation tool. It’s too bad that vaping has become a new avenue to nicotine addiction for young people, as it has been a source of cessation for so many others for many years now.

    • DanR
      Sep 23, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      I’ve not heard of people developing such serious respiratory illnesses so quickly with cigarettes and cigars. I would not want to roll the dice with vaping.

      • raxadian
        Sep 23, 2019 at 11:33 pm

        In theory the problem is that since vaping uses water the chemicals might go right into the bloodstream. So is in fact, way worse than smoking.

        Worse these monsters went to a few high schools to promote vaping to their students!

        Greed is horrible, greed makes us monsters, greed is definitely, absolutely not “Good”.

        • JoAnn Leichliter
          Sep 24, 2019 at 4:07 am

          Actually, inhaling anything gives it a direct route into the bloodstream–through the lungs.

    • Dave Chapman
      Sep 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      Many moons ago, when I was a Pharmacology major, we studied addiction. They told us that nicotine was the most addictive drug known, based on how long the withdrawal symptoms last. I have not forgotten that class.

      Vaping kills people. Nicotine is a deadly, addictive drug. The fact that this stuff was ever legal is evidence of how corrupt the American Government has become.

    • Vesppa P200E
      Sep 24, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      Juul got greedy as hell and actively marketed to teens (this really incensed me) and millennials thru social media. That was dumb move and frankly, glad the Feds and medical community are standing against Juul. As for PM – greed and fear of losing out got to them.

  4. Bobber
    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    So why can’t the FDA determine if vaping is, in fact, less damaging than smoking?

    Can’t they at least outline what chemicals are in the vape, and enforce some disclosure rules, so the public can make up their own mind?

    Some work by the FDA would seem to be a public benefit. I have two relatives that gave up smoking by replacing it with the vape.

    The interesting question is, if various governments are banning vape, why aren’t they also banning cigarettes? What would be the justification for banning vape but not cigarettes in San Francisco, for example?

    • Lune
      Sep 24, 2019 at 1:33 am

      That’s not how it works. It’s up to the company wanting to market its products (i.e. Juul) to pay for and conduct the studies according to well established clinical trial protocols, then submit that data to the FDA for review. The FDA then has an expert panel review the data and recommend specific marketing regulations (e.g. that Juul can say “vaping is safer than smoking” but can’t say “vaping helps you stop smoking cigarettes”) based on determining what the data does and doesn’t show.

      If Juul wants to use specific statements in its marketing materials, then it needs to spend the money on the clinical trials to prove those statements valid, just like any other drug company pays for clinical trials for their drugs. The FDA only reviews the data submitted. They don’t run any trials of their own.

      Of course, those trials cost lots of money and usually take several years (to follow people long enough to see if delayed complications occur). Which is why Juul is doing what Uber, AirBnB, Theranos, and all those other tech darlings do: break the rules and try to get away with it. That’s their true disruption. After all, electronic vaporizers aren’t really some breakthrough technology. It’s just that everyone outside the cloistered tech world knew that getting into the nicotine drug delivery business just a few years after Big Tobacco was forced to pay out billions and billions of dollars in settlements for smoking-related deaths was a pretty stupid business plan. Leave it to the geniuses in Silicon Valley to believe somehow that while smoking is dangerous, vaping the same drug is as pure and harmless as inhaling unicorn farts.

      • Bobber
        Sep 24, 2019 at 11:20 am

        So, basically, as long as they don’t make any unproven advertising claims, companies can sell you whatever addictive poison they want. That idiotic void in common sense is what keeps tobacco and vape products in business, along with altered reasoning from the addicted.

    • Escher
      Sep 24, 2019 at 1:37 am

      Fair point. These governmental authorities are being hypocritical by banning one form of nicotine ingestion and not the mainstream (proven to be deadly) version.
      Maybe it is about tax revenue, and not about citizens’ health.

      • Javert Chip
        Sep 24, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        BINGO!

    • W.E. Farr
      Sep 24, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      Tax money.

  5. Michael
    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Nicotine is likely not the problem. Most likely the other chemicals used to flavor the liquid. By the the way the FDA is generally worthless.

    • David Hall
      Sep 23, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      People who vape have a much higher risk of stroke, heart attack and coronary heart disease.

      Nicotine is a toxic compound. Overdosing on nicotine is potentially fatal.

      • A/C in SD
        Sep 24, 2019 at 11:07 am

        DAvid,

        “Nicotine is a toxic compound. Overdosing on nicotine is potentially fatal.”

        Yep, just like alcohol, yet that multi billion industry is in good favor with our politicians so we never hear anything, or vary little anyway about the social costs associated with alcohol addiction. Wonder why, Hummmm……….

        • Javert Chip
          Sep 24, 2019 at 3:20 pm

          You seem to have overlooked the fact the government has already tried prohibition, even got it into the constitution as the 18th amendment.

          It never worked, and prohibition got taken out of the constitution (21st amendment).

          Doesn’t make it “right”; it’s just not “illegal”. Frankly, if you’re depending on government to make these kinds of decisions for you, you have other issues. Free people get to make stupid decisions.

        • alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit
          Sep 25, 2019 at 3:34 am

          The situation with alcohol has gotten worse. Up until a year, maybe year and a half ago, if you wanted to get off of an alcohol dependency, you went to the doc and got a prescription for Librium, which cost about $6 and kept the shakes away, you could sleep, etc. it was an instant get off of alcohol (nearly) free card.

          But because it works so well and is so cheap, it is not dispensed at all, categorized now as a narcotic, and you just plain can’t get it until you’re maybe in the top 10%. If you’re not in the top 10%, you get steered toward various rehab programs that will put in you debt for the rest of your life and have a 95% or more failure rate.

          The only out you have now is to, with willpower, taper down and do the final tapering down using kava, which after a week you won’t need or want at all, and you’re done.

          But alcohol is everywhere in our society because it’s profitable. And because it’s considered a moral, not a medical or psychological, problem, there’s no pressure to use techniques and drugs that actually work.

        • Javert Chip
          Sep 25, 2019 at 8:25 pm

          Alex

          We’ll both stipulate alcoholism is very destructive (whatever adjective you wish to apply). So is dying in a car wreck.

          Apparently, the considered opinion of the US population is neither of the above facts is a reason for eliminating alcohol or automobiles.

          To answer your question (“Yep…alcohol…multi billion industry…in good favor with…politicians so we…hear…vary (sic) little…about the social costs associated with alcohol addiction. Wonder why, Hummmm……….”)”; we seem to be ignoring decisions of a couple hundred million people who responsibly enjoy alcohol.

      • Michael J Bernard
        Sep 25, 2019 at 9:17 pm

        This is a true and misunderstood fact.

        Years ago I read an article, maybe in National Geographic but possibly not, that was about “The plight of tobacco pickers” in North Carolina, etc wherever the hell tobacco grows these days….This was circa 1998 or so so maybe someone with Lexus Nexus access can get it in a jiffy…

        It was, at its core, then article was trying to describe the plight of central American workers coming to USA who ended up picking tobacco as their vocation.

        See, the problem was, liquid nicotine is super-highly poisonous. Almost close to lethal to the touch.
        And these folks were all out picking it early in the morning when the dew was still on the plants. Many of these workers were getting very sick and no one bothered caring why….

        Extrapolate just this out to where we are now — Liquid Nicotine being basically equal to Potassium Scyenide in lethality — and people injesting it directly into their lungs in That Form.

        Unlike a cigarette or even cigar there is your maximum intake ability based on the vessel, etc. I have witnessed people ingesting ungodly amounts of “vape” all at once, equilivant to cartons and cartons of cigarettes simultaneously. Is it any wonder now the chickens are coming home to roost.

        All these things relate. For some it might be like one of those mid-1990s pictures you have to cross your eyes to see correctly. But the truth is there family. I promise you that and it is.

        Take care everyone, much love and kind regards,
        mB

  6. mr. sticky
    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    ya know, when you see a big cloud of vape smoke exhaled, that sort of thing can’t be good for where it came from.

    and as to nicotine delivery, it’s……concentrated.

    and i say this as an altria and philip morris shareholder.

  7. njbr
    Sep 23, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    “Popcorn lung” returns…in vaping–from the American Lung Association..

    ……Over a decade ago, workers in a microwave popcorn factory were sickened by breathing in diacetyl—the buttery-flavored chemical in foods like popcorn, caramel and dairy products. While this flavoring may be tasty, it was linked to deaths and hundreds of cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease. As a result, the major popcorn manufacturers removed diacetyl from their products, but some people are still being exposed to diacetyl – not through food flavorings as a worksite hazard, but through e-cigarette vapor.

    When inhaled, diacetyl causes bronchiolitis obliterans – more commonly referred to as “popcorn lung” – a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways. While the name “popcorn lung” may not sound like a threat, it’s a serious lung disease that causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, similar to the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    Even though we know that diacetyl causes popcorn lung, this chemical is found in many e-cigarette flavors. It is added to “e-juice” liquid by some e-cigarette companies to complement flavorings such as vanilla, maple, coconut and more. So while diacetyl was swiftly removed from popcorn products since it could cause this devastating disease among factory workers, e-cigarette users are now directly inhaling this harmful chemical into their lungs. In fact, researchers at Harvard found that 39 of 51 e-cigarette brands contained diacetyl. The study also found two similarly harmful chemicals—2,3 pentanedione and acetoin—present in 23 and 46 of the 51 flavors it tested. And roughly 92 percent of the e-cigarettes had one of the three chemicals present….

    Not rogue or street mixtures..92% of e-cigs. Most commonly mis-diagnosed as pneumonia.

    • Leser
      Sep 25, 2019 at 9:31 am

      Enlightening comment, thanks!

  8. raxadian
    Sep 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Hey Wolf, some ideas for your podcast or articles.  

    [The Great Unicorn Conspiracy: How “new and hip” companies can convince investors into wasting billions of money on them only to crash and burn later.]

    [Trinity of horror:  Tesla, Netflix and Uber: Why are these money burning companies still alive?]  

    [Negative Rates: Or how to lend money and have to actually pay money to the ones who borrowed it.]

    • Sep 23, 2019 at 11:49 pm

      Thanks. All of them sound good!

  9. cd
    Sep 23, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Well, biotech does have a lot long empty whisks or candles…..the run and dump is why shorts roam that sector like the Eli in the book of Eli…..nothing can bring them down, including SEC…

    tough sector for companies too it seems..

  10. 2banana
    Sep 23, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    And yet, pot smoking is seen as safe and actively promoted.

    Humans are going to do poor unhealthy choices. And the science keeps changing. The real question is how big a black market do you want?

    • Sep 23, 2019 at 11:56 pm

      “pot smoking is seen as safe and actively promoted.”

      Not quite. In states were it is allowed, it’s highly regulated because of the issues associated with it. It’s not promoted by governments, but regulated and tolerated.

      • 2banana
        Sep 24, 2019 at 12:02 am

        I see quite a few billboards, in every state on the verge of legalization of marijuana, on all the positive benefits it will bring.

        Same with tv commercials.

        You can’t even advertise cigarettes.

        • Sep 24, 2019 at 12:35 am

          It’s a good thing you can’t advertise cigarettes everywhere (you can advertise, but there are many limits).

          I would like to see the same kind of advertising ban for pot, prescription drugs, elective medial treatments, and the like.

      • CreditGB
        Sep 24, 2019 at 12:14 pm

        Wolf,
        I beg to differ, but only slightly. States that legalized casual use, regulate only to the point of creating a billable entity, literally a new and continuing revenue stream.

        Only if the Pot Shop commits gross negligence, or other blatantly illegal actions, does any kind of “regulatory” activity take place.

        Hard to slap the new hands that feed you. Know what I mean?

        • Sep 24, 2019 at 2:39 pm

          CreditGB,

          I’m not saying it’s good regulation or efficient regulation, but there are a lot of regulations.

          I’m not into this, so I just went to the State of California website about this. The amount of regulations is actually amazing. Glad I’m not in this business :-]

          Here is the summary page of the three departments that regulate Cannabis in the state — Bureau of Cannabis Control, CA Department of Food and Agriculture, CA Department of Public Health — with links to the specific regulations:

          https://cannabis.ca.gov/cannabis-regulations/

      • EcuadorExpat
        Sep 24, 2019 at 5:13 pm

        Wolf, why do you promote these fantasies. I know old hippies that have smoked pot daily for more than 50 years, and I’ll bet their health is better than yours.

        I had relatives who smoked all their life and died healthy and active in their 80’s and 90’s.

        It’s simple, you put toxic crap in a vaper, and you have health problems. You ever see “naturally flavored” cartridges? Last I saw there were over 200 added chemicals in cigarettes. Lung cancer was rare until around 1958 when new pesticides were approved for tobacco.

    • sc7
      Sep 24, 2019 at 6:44 am

      I have seen little to no evidence that THC/CBD from cannabis is any worse than alcohol. There is no link to chemical/physiological addiction. At best, there’s the posibility for mild psychological addiction, no different than nicotine or caffeine. In fact, it can help as a pain reliever for the symptoms of a number of ailments, moreso than alcohol, and much, much safer than opiates.

      Either we ban alcohol, or we let people keep some remaining level of free will in this country. Marijuana is nowehere near as bad as heroin, meth, crack, cocaine, LSD, MDMA, etc… Keeping it classified as the same with the DEA’s failed “war on drugs” will only lead to more lives permanently destroyed. Good for the pockets of the private prison system, though.

      • C1ue
        Sep 24, 2019 at 11:49 am

        This is anecdotal, but I have several friends whose prolonged and heavy marijuana smoking made them visibly dumber.
        I have another friend who is ADHD and brilliant, and smokes a lot of pot to calm down. He hasn’t shown any negative effects.
        To say that THC has no effect is almost certainly propaganda.
        Furthermore, smoking is smoking = tar and what not.
        The biggest issue with legalization, though, is that it doesn’t seem to be having a significant effect on the illegal usage. California was one of the earliest states to legalize, but illegal sales outweigh legal sales 2 to 1 or more.

        • sc7
          Sep 24, 2019 at 4:30 pm

          “Your claim is propaganda but all I have to refute it is anecdotal experience”. There’s some evidence of prolonged, daily THC usage having an impact on memory. There’s little evidence that occasional recreational use (say, on the weekends) has any detremental effect. There’s far more evidence of moderate alcohol intake being harmful.

          Do you have any evidence of a measurable decline in person A’s mentual faculties?

          Also, the whole “smoking = tar” thing is incorrect and too simplistic. Studies have shown that cannabis acts as an expectorant and does not have the same deteremental effects as cigarettes, especially when it’s not loaded with chemicals like cigarettes. Pot smokers, unless outright addicts, generally also smoke significantly less than tobacco smokers. Here’s one example: https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/01/98519/marijuana-shown-be-less-damaging-lungs-tobacco

          The reason legalization hasn’t done more is because it’s overregulated. The iron-grip of the CCC in MA has made it very difficult to buy product, and the stores have supply shortages so they jack up the prices. Loosen the control, allow more dispensaries with less restrictions, watch prices come down and illegal sales will diminish. The fact is, they’ve made it so that illegal purcahsing is still cheaper and easier. Most will prefer to buy a regulated, safe, tested product over dealer product any day.

        • c1ue
          Sep 25, 2019 at 1:53 pm

          Sadly, “occasional recreational use” is not what many pot smokers indulge in, any more than “occasional recreational use” occurs with cigarette smokers.
          I don’t need a test to see how these people, who used to be witty, now literally have 3 second pauses before responding in conversations.
          And yes, they were/are heavy put users. But legalized, recreational marijuana *will* enable more of these, or are you going to argue about that as well?

    • EchoDelta
      Sep 24, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      Can you give me the link to the pro-pot smoking group? National Reefer Association? Pot Smokers of America? Pot is legal where I live and it’s just another boring consumer product with quaint moral textures long overshadowed by meth, opiates and cocaine. Much as has been the case since it was first illegalized.

  11. Gordon
    Sep 23, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Not convinced by the anti-vape hype.

    When I was young it was trendy for young people to smoke (Hollywood film stars etc) and I and most of my contemporaries began smoking at 14 or so. Youngsters will always test what is trendy.

    Vaping does help many to quit smoking and the medical data available suggests that it is generally much safer since there is no combustion and thus no carbon monoxide or tar products.

    The problems seem to depend upon lack of quality control (sterility etc) for the vape juice, and the lack of tax on the product. [Vaping was banned in Thailand until they found a way to tax it.]

    Vaping is cheap at present, especially compared to smoking. My wife and I – both smokers for 50 years or so – calculate that by switching to vapes, which enabled both of us to quit smoking a packet a day each, between us saves some $14,000 a year (in Australia). And we do feel a little bit healthier.

    So, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because of a shonky Unicorn company.

    • Sep 24, 2019 at 12:24 am

      Gordon,

      My sister, who is even younger than I am, has been a heavy smoker all her life. Got cancer in her late 50s, and has all kinds of other problems. Not fun! She got addicted when she was 13 or 14, and never could quit, and still smokes.

      When you get addicted at age 13 or 14, it’s NOT your fault. You fell prey to the boundless greed of tobacco companies that target kids so that they become lifelong helpless customers, though those lives are shorter than they would be otherwise and have all kinds of quality-of-life issues at an age when people should still be fit and healthy.

      Nicotine is one of the most insidious and most addictive substances. When you target kids with it, it’s beyond criminal. Millions of people die brutally every year from smoking-related illnesses.

      In the US, we finally made some progress getting these friggin’ makers of tobacco products out of our schools, and smoking among teens declined quite a bit. But now we got the tobacco-products makers back in our schools and targeting kids, possibly worse than before.

      There is no “baby in the bathwater,” to use your phrase. These are ALL terrible products, and people who run these companies and/or invest in them are terrible people.

      • d
        Sep 24, 2019 at 5:26 am

      • Balzac
        Sep 24, 2019 at 9:27 am

        I recently completed my 77th year on the planet. I’m lucky to still be here unlike so many of my former high school classmates who have passed on, many of them smokers who became the victims of lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and the like.

        How well I recall the cigarette company reps who would meet the students at the high school gate as class let out passing out the free samples of their brand.

        Pure evil that attempt to addict us which is now being repeated by the tobacco industry.

        So much misery in the quest for profit.

    • medial axis
      Sep 24, 2019 at 1:16 am

      Been reading an article on TheConversation’s site this morning titled, “An increasing number of countries are banning e-cigarettes – here’s why”

      The first paragraph says, “The White House recently announced plans to ban flavoured e-cigarettes – except for tobacco-flavoured products – because of a rise in the number of middle and high school students using these products.”

      A later paragraph says, “Research suggests that e-cigarettes may help smokers quit regular cigarettes benefiting their long-term health. But young people who have never smoked traditional cigarettes are taking up e-cigarettes, which are available in over 1,500 flavours, including bubble gum and candy floss. In a survey of US youths aged 12-17, 81% of e-cigarette users reported that the first product they ever used was flavoured and that they use e-cigarettes because “they come in flavors I like”.”

      So looks like they’ve taken the baby out the bath.

    • Lune
      Sep 24, 2019 at 1:45 am

      Don’t believe the anti-anti-vaping hype.

      If the goal of vaping was to produce something to allow *already addicted* smokers to quit, then great! We need more of those products. But notice that products like Chantix, nicoderm, and other smoking cessation treatments don’t encourage people who don’t smoke to take up the habit. They specifically target only smokers and say “if you want to quit smoking, this can help.” Nicoderm doesn’t advertise to non-smokers to start wearing their patch because it’s cool and will calm your nerves.

      That’s a far cry from Juul going to high schools and convincing kids who aren’t addicted to nicotine to begin with to start vaping because “it’s safer than smoking!”

      *Perhaps* vaping is a lesser evil compared to smoking (the jury is out on that one, since we don’t have long-term data on vaping like we do for smoking). But it’s still an evil. There is no baby to preserve in that bathwater.

      • walter map
        Sep 24, 2019 at 8:52 am

        *Perhaps* vaping is a lesser evil compared to smoking

        It is the same evil. Marketing just came up with new and improved packaging. They managed to make fools of a lot of people with it, particularly the regulatory authorities, plus millions of others who lack critical thinking skills and/or bullshit detectors.

        Nicotine has only one major commercial application besides addictive profitability, and that is as an insecticide. It is one of the earliest-known insecticides, the precursor to the neonicotinoids that are killing off the birds and the bees. They spend loads on research to try to come up with bigger and better insecticidal addictions, so far without success, although you do get a lot of new food additives that way.

        Better Living Through Chemistry is what made Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.

        Some of the most profitable corporations care nothing about the birds, or the bees, or the health of their customers, which are always looking for legalistic ways to waste lives to fatten their bottom lines. And not giving a damn about the carnage, euphemistically called ‘externalities’, regardless of the scale, can make for excellent corporate profitability, which is why you have grossly-overpriced medical care, runaway planetary heating, school-to-prison pipelines, epidemics of obesity, cancer, and diabetes, comprehensive government corruption, the domination of social media, and wars that never end.

        Is it not so?

        • Prairies
          Sep 24, 2019 at 2:56 pm

          It is a lesser of 2 evils in 1 sense. There is no second hand smoke, they can kill themselves with both habits but one also kills people in a close radius too. In car is the worst.

        • Javert Chip
          Sep 24, 2019 at 3:31 pm

          I humbly submit airplanes are worse – try rolling down a window…

  12. Just Some Random Guy
    Sep 24, 2019 at 12:30 am

    Everything is a crisis these days. 3 people die from vaping and it’s OMG ONG OMG OMG OMG we must do something for the children!!! As usual, follow the money. My hunch is the booze, beer, pot and energy drinks are behind this. Take out the competition.

    • Sep 24, 2019 at 12:49 am

      Just Some Random Guy,

      I cannot believe you’re this willfully blind in real life. These are highly addictive products, and Juul has so successfully targeted kids with them that over 27% of the kids in high school plus lots of kids in middle school are smoking this stuff, as I pointed out in the article, citing CDC figures.

      Juul is creating the next generation of addicted smokers/vapers, after we finally got smoking reduced in the US to where it wasn’t a huge issue anymore with young people. These are new products, so there aren’t decades of track record, and already we can see that the health problems are severe, and possibly a lot worse than from smoking cigarettes.

      So this is great stuff to get addicted to when you’re 15 so that Just Some Random Guy can make some money off his Altria shares or future Juul shares. Nuts!

      • walter map
        Sep 24, 2019 at 9:05 am

        Juul is creating the next generation of addicted smokers/vapers, after we finally got smoking reduced in the US to where it wasn’t a huge issue anymore with young people.

        Marketing to the rescue.

        So this is great stuff to get addicted to when you’re 15 so that Just Some Random Guy can make some money off his Altria shares or future Juul shares.

        Moral distinctions went away in the 1980s with Welch’s theory of Maximal Shareholder Value.

        “Doing Well by Doing Good? Screw that! I’m going to make some money.”

  13. Gordon
    Sep 24, 2019 at 12:56 am

    Sorry Wolf,

    I love your site and follow it closely with great affection.

    But you are simply wrong on this one. These “friggn’ makers of tobacco products” do not make or endorse vapes because it eats their profits and monopoly. The nicotine is synthesised chemically, not extracted from tobacco and – despite a temporary surge in young people (which is transient and will not lead to tobacco addiction) – it is enabling millions to kick the cigarette habit.

    That’s why the ‘tobacco industry’ is trying to get into vapes but in a dying cause.

    I’m sad to hear about your sister but I could have had the same problems from smoking had I not been saved by vaping.

    • Rat Fink
      Sep 24, 2019 at 5:07 am

      Whenever I see someone puffing on their electric smoke machine – it reconfirms my assertion that most humans are so stupid that if you have enough money and a good PR firm you could convince them to consume just about anything, because it’s ‘cool’

      • ZeroBrain
        Sep 24, 2019 at 8:04 am

        No need to be so harsh. Most of us drink alcohol even though we know it’s bad for us. Many doctors and nurses smoke. People give in to temptation/escape – I don’t think most folks do it for the look, but rather to take the edge off. Take cigarettes – even as a non-smoker I can see that it gives folks something to do and it can help break the ice and meet new people at nightlife type events.

      • Jeff T.
        Sep 24, 2019 at 9:42 am

        Pet rocks.

    • Javert Chip
      Sep 25, 2019 at 9:13 pm

      Gordon

      The ease with which you pass off JUUL’s marketing to school kids during a time of rapidly expanding teen vaping is impressive (depressing in substance, but impressive in its moral vacuity).

      Whether nicotine is synthesised chemically or extracted from tobacco is a distinction without a difference, especially when it comes to a substance causing lifetime addiction.

  14. ML
    Sep 24, 2019 at 1:31 am

    “The primary therapeutic use of nicotine is treating nicotine dependence to eliminate smoking and the damage it does to health.“

    “In contrast to recreational nicotine products, which have been designed to maximize the likelihood of addiction, nicotine replacement products (NRTs) are designed to minimize addictiveness”

    Nicotine has been used as an insecticide since the late c17.

  15. ML
    Sep 24, 2019 at 2:04 am

    “I would like to see the same kind of ban for pot, prescription drugs, elective medial treatments, and the like.” W R….

    I would like to see warnings and a ban of sorts for coffee. An occasional cup maybe but not several a day and certainly not first thing in the morning, breakfast. Give it a few more years for the error of ways to emerge.

    • Javert Chip
      Sep 24, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      While we’re at it, dihydrogen oxide is a big killer. Almost every known poisonous liquid contains some.

      Why a civil society allows this is a mystery.

      Needs to be outlawed.

      • MB732
        Sep 25, 2019 at 10:47 am

        Think you meant dihydrogen monoxide…And ironically, it can be deadly if you inhale it ;-]

  16. Covey
    Sep 24, 2019 at 2:06 am

    I enjoy the odd ciggie especially having a Marlboro Light with my morning coffee. A few days ago I was offered a vape by a friend who said it was “Apple Pie” flavour. I have to say that it tasted sweet and sickly and nothing like any apple pie my Mother ever made. When I asked how the vape machine worked my friend produced this little bottle of “Apple Pie Flavor” brown liquid and told me how to load the vape unit.

    I was struck by the fact that the “Apple Pie” bottle had no makers name, only the words Apple Pie. The cardboard container the bottle was sold in also had no identifying information. It was bought in a small local corner shop who started selling vape kit when it became popular. The actual vape machine was stamped Made in Vietnam. My friend has no idea what chemicals are in his Apple Pie, or what the copious amounts of smoke are doing to his lungs. Apparently the “in” thing now is to advertise you vape by emitting a large volume of smoke.

    • walter map
      Sep 24, 2019 at 9:15 am

      When I asked how the vape machine worked my friend produced this little bottle of “Apple Pie Flavor” brown liquid and told me how to load the vape unit.

      To make “apple pie flavoring” start with crude oil and keep the usual lists of catalysts and reagents refluxing until you get something the secretarial pool tells you smells something like “apples”.

      No actual apples needed. It’s quite the cost-saver.

      Only a vanishingly small percentage of chemical substances produced by industry are regulated. That should terrify you.

      • alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit
        Sep 25, 2019 at 3:46 am

        Great now you made me think of that horrifying “mock apple pie” recipe on the back of the Ritz cracker boxes when I was a kid in the 1970s.

        No, we never made it, you had to be doing pretty well to have all the ingredients together in one place and not spoken for, but it was just another one of those 1930s things the 1970s were full of.

  17. crv
    Sep 24, 2019 at 2:09 am

    What i don’t understand is that ‘we’ are told to be concerned about the quality of the air and the environment, while at the same time there are people voluntarily inhailing smoke into their lungs to ‘have a good time’.
    I don’t see a lot of people vaping in my surroundings, but when i do see one i can only think: “there goes someone who wants to attract attention”. In the end the attention will be given … in hospital.

  18. kk
    Sep 24, 2019 at 2:32 am

    Why is there so little research into products that give you a lift or calm your nerves or feel excited/happy but are not damaging to health, wellbeing or normal life?

    • RD Blakeslee
      Sep 24, 2019 at 5:42 am

      Why “products”.

      My way of life satisfies me, perhaps BECAUSE it relies so little on “products.

      • walter map
        Sep 24, 2019 at 9:16 am

        Stay away from doctors. You’ll live longer.

        • NBay
          Sep 25, 2019 at 5:32 pm

          One of the VERY VERY few more generally useful and informed comments in this article. Big Pharma is totally in control whether ignorant pill popping people know it or not. And OTC is a TOTAL wasteland.

          BTW, why are Rx drugs advertised on TV? Everyone surely realizes advertising is designed to increase PROFIT. Don’t you trust your doc to stay informed? FACT, he has to follow the party line, generated by the drug companies, the AMA/FDA is totally corrupt.

          Vaping is a BIG threat to drug and cigarette company PROFITS and they have MONEY….lots of it.

          I won’t bore anyone with NIH-PUBMED articles from all over the world which they won’t understand, anyway. Go listen to a TV doctor you idiots, forget the honest scientists.

          Diet and exercise…..PERIOD.

          Wealth extraction is the only game in town, loser be damned.

          End rant.

    • Kent
      Sep 24, 2019 at 6:00 am

      Xanax, paxil, prozac… the list goes on. For some reason you have to get a doctor’s prescription.

    • California Bob
      Sep 24, 2019 at 10:06 am

      re: “Why is there so little research into products that give you a lift or calm your nerves or feel excited/happy but are not damaging to health, wellbeing or normal life?”

      Why ‘products?’ Try exercise. Not only has it been proven to be “not damaging to health, wellbeing [sic] or normal life” but it has been proven to actually be advantageous to those things (potential injuries notwithstanding).

  19. breamrod
    Sep 24, 2019 at 5:15 am

    The Human lung was made to breath pure air! not smoke of any kind. Young people are so easily led. Wolf is right. Get this fraudster juul out of the schools. Replace it with classes on how the fed is destroying their lives!!

    • NBay
      Sep 27, 2019 at 3:59 pm

      “The Human lung was made to breath pure air.”
      What a fine sounding sentence, however it totally lacks content, understanding, or context. Not picking on you, there are many “fine sentences” generated here and elsewhere. I prefer knowing what these “fine sounding” sentences lack.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilium
      Just look at the picture on the first page, read if you have the inclination.
      “Common sense is a collection of prejudices usually formed by about age 18- Albert Einstein

  20. Duncan Burns
    Sep 24, 2019 at 5:53 am

    Should be noted that Juul hired former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to lobby and rally the political troops. The same MA AG that failed MA Residents when she settled on foreclosure fraud even though we had a Landmark MA SJC Decision in favor of Plaintiffs against TBTF Banks for their fraudulent practices.

  21. Al Loco
    Sep 24, 2019 at 6:11 am

    What part of “According to the CDC, last year, the number of middle and high school kids using e-cigarettes jumped by 70%, from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018, with 5% of middle school students and 21% of high school students reporting that they had vaped in the past 30 days” don’t people understand?

    I just had a conversation about this with my 19yr old little cousin. I think he a pretty sharp kid and he estimate 80% of the kids in his high school vapes. While this is an exaggeration it was alarming to hear. The 2 reasons he thought it was happening, their parents cant smell it and the vape shops sell to underage buyers. Blame dumb humans all you want but teenagers just dont understand the implications of becoming addicted to nicotine.

    • a citizen
      Sep 24, 2019 at 8:18 am

      …or beer, or sex, or pot, or glue, or raspberry flavored vegetable oil vapor, or Facebook…

      We can’t fix poor parenting in a society that has already addicted itself to victimizing kids by telling them that they are actually fully functioning adults. In fact, any attempt do so is routinely met with derision by most of those screaming for Juul’s head.

      If Juul is in fact marketing to children (something I’ve heard but not personally witnessed), then this must stop. It simply cannot be tolerated. However, I quit smoking in three days after 40 years using a Juul, and I’m thankful they developed the product.

      • California Bob
        Sep 24, 2019 at 10:11 am

        re: “I quit smoking in three days after 40 years using a Juul, and I’m thankful they developed the product.”

        Trading one addiction for another is not an accomplishment.

        • TXRancher
          Sep 24, 2019 at 5:26 pm

          “Trading one addiction for another is not an accomplishment.”

          Not defending Juul but an associate of mine used vaping to reduce his nicotine intake daily by cutting the nicotine content in half each subsequent day until he no longer needed the vaping. Completely quit. If you use vaping this way to quit smoking I applaud the process.

      • walter map
        Sep 24, 2019 at 10:20 am

        Juul is happy to have you as a lifelong source of profit.

        Organisms characteristically adjust their physiology to enable them to tolerate chronic poisoning, and those adjustments are rarely reversible. You may have quit smoking, but you will always be addicted to nicotine because your physiology has been adjusted to it. It’s why people still have ‘cravings’ decades after they’ve quit.

        Lionesses typically go after the calves because they’re the most vulnerable. So do marketing managers, for the same reason.

      • CreditGB
        Sep 24, 2019 at 12:27 pm

        In 1978, on a Republic Airlines flight from Buffalo to Detroit, I smoked my last cigarette. Yes, smoked in my seat, in flight.

        The following week was awful, but each hour and day I viewed as an investment. I just didn’t want to lose my ever increasing investment by going back to zero. No Juul, no nicotine gum. Perhaps an increase in black coffee consumption, but that was it.

        Gee, perhaps valuing “investment” is something UBER and TSLA, and potential We Co investors should consider.

  22. Tim
    Sep 24, 2019 at 6:57 am

    The whole vaping phenomenon blows my mind. I lived through the period where we pushed smoking out of public places, penalized the big tobacco companies, and taught people about the dangers of smoking tobacco. We were winning. Smoking was pushed into the darker corners of our society. It wasn’t cool anymore.

    But in the last decade we’ve lost ground in this battle. Now we’ve legitimized smoking marijuana and vaping all kinds of crazy chemicals. The arguments in favor of both have gained a lot of traction.

    Seriously? You really think smoking pot and vaping are any better for your lungs (and body) than plain old tobacco?

    Humans are stupid.

    • walter map
      Sep 24, 2019 at 10:47 am

      Humans are stupid.

      Humans have an unlimited genius at rationalizing what they want and how they go about getting it. It’s why the world is overpopulated, and why it’s useless to argue with the dedicated flat-earther, religious enthusiast, etc.

      Desire has a way of trumping reason. It is believed that the evolutionary purpose of intelligence is to more efficiently serve desire. Marketing exploits this by conditioning people to lack self-control and to chase fads, knowing that people are, as you say, stupid, and can be taught to want things that will ruin them, and most profitably, things they do not need, should not have, and cannot afford. There are many examples.

  23. Mortadell
    Sep 24, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Back to your high school physics class…..
    Vitamin E Acetate vaporizes at 363 degrees F.
    When it enters your lungs and cools it turns back to grease, which is what it is. You just coated your lungs with synthetic grease. Juul and others know this, they just didn’t think that it would be such a short period of time before guys started dropping. School kids will reef these things like there’s no tomorrow. Any unknown ingredients you burn in a small chamber could be a bad move indeed.
    If you dry vaporize organic cannabis you will only extract the THC and hopefully nothing else. Thats why here in the great white north you have at least a modicum of safety buying from the govt store. There is a standard (if its being enforced). Many young people lack the funds to buy quality goods of any kind, so will purchase anything from the black market. You are most likely smoking poison. A little education goes along way.

    • Pat
      Sep 24, 2019 at 7:59 am

      Vitamin E acetate IS the problem here you are correct about it being grease and coating the lungs…however , it is not in JUUL or any of the nicotine vapes its in the THC ones generally sold on the street..this is the underlying issue not JUUL.

  24. max
    Sep 24, 2019 at 8:02 am

    The Devil Made Me Do It:

    It may sound harsh to tell someone that the problem is himself and his own choices. But it’s no harsher than a doctor telling a patient to quit smoking and that the tobacco company is not to blame for his poor health. To find a cure, you have to start with a correct diagnosis and then move to the correct treatment. The correct diagnosis is sin.

    I was 14 when I started to smoke — peer pressure in school — would not happen if parents are non smokers and if I had home education.

I did stop at age 29 — it was hard — but I do not blame tobacco companies.

It is same with sugar, alcohol, drugs, sex, food… or any other addictions.

    Problem is individual weakness.

    Sorry for your sister health problems.

  25. Mark
    Sep 24, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Who rips off the American taxpayer and serves the corporations the most ?

    FAA (Boeing death machines) or

    FDA (owned by tobacco industry) ??

    Either way, what a sickening example of government being owned by corporations. (The definition of fascism, by the way)

    • SwissKev
      Sep 24, 2019 at 9:13 am

      Mark,

      “Either way, what a sickening example of government being owned by corporations. (The definition of fascism, by the way)”

      That’s not the definition of facism…

      see here: https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

      • wkevinw
        Sep 24, 2019 at 1:12 pm

        The definition of fascism has changed over the years. In my view, mostly due to “increased academic analysis” (read – over analysis). If you look at most of the Wiki references, they are very recent, meaning, again in my view, a lot of re-writing of history is happening.

        The bad part is that the “company/corporate owners” being “regulated/controlled” is under-emphasized. Many decades ago, that was possibly THE main point of the system.

        It’s a different flavor of authoritarianism/totalitarianism (from so-called left wing flavors).

        The other features are often just related to how the dictators in Europe decided to rule.

      • Javert Chip
        Sep 24, 2019 at 3:53 pm

        Mark

        “…government being owned by corporations…The definition of fascism…)

        I strongly disagree; try: “… political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition…”.

        Communism, socialism and fascism all highly prize controlling the means of production.

  26. wkevinw
    Sep 24, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Most of the current IPOs/Unicorns/Startups (Uber, WeWork, Juul, etc.) seem to have some serious regulatory problems. In fact, I never could figure out how Uber and Lyft were going to get the “employee” and “taxi” regulations under control. It still amazes me.

    The mobile phone business had some regulatory issues when they started it up- carriers working with handset makers, but the cost/benefit analysis seemed much better and regulatory burden much easier.

    How about that Theranos…

  27. MF
    Sep 24, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Why do most people seem to be so challenged making a distinction between government trying to control individual behavior (outright substance bans) and regulation of business?

    A business can’t exist without someone creating the rules of its existence (regulation). Therefore — easy to regulate! Penalties are simple and straightforward. If it breaks money-raising rules, the it loses that money, plus a penalty fee. If it lies, it loses the money it made from those lies, plus a penalty fee. If it loses enough money, it ceases to exist. Problem solved.

    Most of the comments I read here seem to reflexively want to ban substances or control human behavior. Substances are notoriously difficult to control. Same with human behavior. And both are extremely expensive to enforce.

    The end result is we have checkpoints, cash seizures, felony possession laws, etc. — all while companies run roughshod over our economy, own our governments and abuse our children. These heinous costs should be charged back to the companies that created them, not transferred to their victims, as we’re doing now.

    • Kent
      Sep 24, 2019 at 10:12 am

      Good post. Criminalizing things that people want doesn’t get rid of the thing. It just puts humans in cages.

      Far better to provide people with a good education about substance abuse and make it easy for them to quit.

  28. Formation Flight
    Sep 24, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Time for the high, mightly and over powered to crash and burn. Victory for what is left of the middle class. No loss to see JUUL or We-so called Work or any ‘unicorn’ fail. They are fraud. Working for the rich is now slavery. STOP WORKING and empower the masses!

  29. Scott Carlson
    Sep 24, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Despite all this bad press, I would much rather have someone vape than smoke since smoking stinks up everything.

  30. Sep 24, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    I am going to assume vaping is safer than cigarettes. It does resemble the medical device they call a “nebulizer” which my father used in the late stages of COPD, when he did not have enough strength to use the standard inhalers. Of course it was cigarettes which contributed to his condition. I do have some friends who had to quit vaping THC because they developed a bad cough. (I think that most users would do well to follow the same common sense advice.) Then some people wake up hacking and coughing before they light one up. To my thinking vaping would help these people. Then there are some people that you give them a safer car they are just going to drive faster.

    • Gandalf
      Sep 24, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      A pure nebulizer sends moisturized air into your lungs. You need to use pure distilled water, btw, since tap water contains minerals that will form into fine particles that get deposited in your lungs (and theoretically cause the same sort of damage as coal dust or rock dust).

      Nebulizers for COPD patients contain medications for treating the underlying bronchiolar disease with smooth muscle dilators to expand the constructed bronchioles and steroids to decrease inflammation. These meds are also given by pill or iv form but pocket nebulizers to deliver a quick puff of these meds act more directly and faster and are handy to carry around

      Lots of meds, it turns out, can be delivered by inhalation – insulin for example. They just aren’t because the dosage that’s absorbed is too variable by technique abd by patient.

      That’s a whole another world from vaping – which involves HEATING a witch’s brew of liquid chemicals to aromatize it into a vapor – said chemicals have no useful medical properties, lots of harmful affects, and nobody has studied what other chemicals form as a result of the HEATING.

      Decades of cancer studies have found that barbecuing or searing meats and frying starches form carcinogenic byproducts.

      I’m pretty sure the high heat involved in vaping will be found to produce similar byproducts that are grossly harmful

  31. Gandalf
    Sep 24, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    It’s a simple biological fact that inhaling large amounts of ANYTHING into your lungs other than pure air can destroy your lungs and lead to an early death.

    The medical pulmonology literature is filled with the eponyms of all sorts of diseases, caused by the inhalation of dust particles and chemicals, from the dust of asbestos, wool, wood, coal, beryllium, rock, to aromatized diacetyl – the artificial butter flavoring used in microwaved popcorn.

    There are already numerous studies of the diseases afflicting heavy marijuana smokers. Yes, folks, it’s just as bad as tobacco. Burned dried plant matter deposited in your lungs has pretty much the same effect, and no, marijuana doesn’t have magical healing powers to prevent cancer or the utter destruction of lung tissue. It will take another decade or two for this to become a public health crisis, but it will happen

    Vaping needs to be treated like marijuana and tobacco (and ALL other currently illegal drugs), IMHO, kept legal, but highly regulated and restricted from minors (with heavy prison time for selling to minors), and taxed to pay for the health costs of the death and diseases they cause

  32. BenX
    Sep 24, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Hoocoodanode that inhaling a vaporized chemical compound is bad for your lungs.

    We should create some regulatory agency to monitor and prevent such things.

  33. Bet
    Sep 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    In my biology classes I have seen the sections of lungs taken from deceased smokers, ruined and black. You can trash up to 80% of your lungs before its really noticeable and affects your quality of life. I had bad asthma as a kid, fortunately I grew out of it by my 20’s. I have hyper inflated lung syndrome. I know what its like to live sucking on an inhaler, sleeping upright against a wall to breath, to not be able to sleep, to drape myself over a log and gasp like a landed carp. I think anyone who smokes, vapes , huffs, whatever into ones lungs is beyond stuoid. Turn those nice healthy red spongy things into crepey black lumps. I do everything I can to take care of my lungs, I already know what its like to suffocate.
    A friend of mine died three weeks ago from COPD and smoking, I watched it for two years. I Never saw a purple person before, now I have. It was a miserable death. A pox on the purveyors of smoking death sticks.

  34. Tyson Bryan
    Sep 24, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Interesting discussion, but in the end advertising and vaping are both human rights. Direct inhaleation is the fastest, most effective route to the blood stream for many / most medicinals.

    • Gandalf
      Sep 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      Causing easily impressionable minors to become addicted to a harmful product is NOT a human right, nor even a right of corporations.

      I think that’s all been pretty much sorted out in case law with the century old laws establishing the Food and Drug Administration and the modern era restrictions on tobacco and alcohol sakes and usage

      And, to repeat my post above to Ambrose Pierce, the key difference between medical nebulizers and vaping is something called HEAT

    • Javert Chip
      Sep 25, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      Tyson Bryan

      If you consider advertising & vaping to both be human rights, is there ANYTHING that isn’t a human right?

  35. RW
    Sep 24, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Altria loves the day they invested in JUUL. Altria wants vaping to be outlawed. Then where will the nicotine addicts recruited through vaping go? Answer: To Altria cigarettes.

  36. Jason
    Sep 26, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Too much hyperbole here, and conflation of vaping vs cigarettes with vaping vs nothing, particularly where minors are concerned.

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