In case you missed it: Juul releases first vaping study amid mixed reactions
As the leading retailer of vapor products, Juul Labs attracts a great deal of both positive and negative attention. Often viewed as the evil Silicon Valley start-up which preys on young teens to buy their pods and pens through creative marketing ads, the company now appears to be in damage-control mode.
Their reputation hasn’t fared much better after Big Tobacco’s The Altria Group spent a whopping $12.8 billion to become a 35 percent shareholder in the company. To add further fuel to the fire, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been lobbing a bevy of anti-vaping allegations at Juul since early 2017. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has even publicly accused Juul of starting a teenage vaping “epidemic” on multiple occasions.
Perhaps anxious to clear their name, Juul executives announced the release of their first-ever vaping study at the annual Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Society this weekend. A poster summary was presented at the conference, and right on cue, the mainstream media began running stories immediately questioning – if not aggressively refuting – the study’s findings.
Overview of the Juul vaping study
The basic concept of the clinical trial involves the monitoring of a group of juulers for a period of five days. Dual use was strictly prohibited. All the while, researchers were monitoring the levels of several biomarkers associated with combustible tobacco. This is key – because it is the primary focus of controversy from the mainstream press regarding Juul’s vaping study.
The experiment also involves a control group of regular smokers spending the same five days refraining from smoking via the old-fashioned cold turkey method. The same biomarkers were also analyzed and compared to those of the juuling group.
At the end of the trial, the Juul scientists determined that the vaping participants experienced the same substantially reduced levels of tobacco-related biomarkers as the people who quit smoking cold turkey. In a February 23 press release, Juul officials released the following statement.
“The study found that all eight non-nicotine urine BOEs were reduced by an aggregate of 85.3% in the abstinence group compared to an 85.0% aggregate reduction in the pooled NSPS group (p > 0.05). This represents a 99.6% relative reduction in aggregate BOEs for the pooled NSPS group. In the cigarette group, the same BOEs increased by an aggregate of 14.4% from baseline.”
Experienced vapers are not shocked by the study’s findings, but the mainstream press seems confounded. Business Insider, for example, discusses several “limitations” of the study.
Mainstream media questions Juul vaping study findings
Business Insider seems to have a problem with the fact that the Juul scientists only evaluated biomarkers related to combustible tobacco. The online magazine also readily admits that vaping is 100% tobacco-free, a rare and informative distinction that mainstream media so often ignores.
So - Business Insider surmises - if Juul pods do not contain tobacco, then why is Juul testing for tobacco-related biomarkers?
“However, one limitation of the present study is that e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, the key substance known to influence the biomarkers that Juul evaluated. So while the study provides further evidence that adults who vape need not worry about tobacco-related carcinogens, that may not have been a question in the first place.”
To which the vaping community collectively and overwhelmingly responds, “BINGO! That’s the point!”
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