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Junk science alert: Stanford professors link unicorns to teen vaping

A recent article published by two Stanford University professors, Dr. Robert Jackler and Divya Ramamurthi, is taking anti-vaping junk science to an entirely new level of stupidity.  According to these two leaders of academia, manufacturers and retailers are intentionally trying to encourage teen vaping by offering a new surge in unicorn-themed e-liquids.  Unicorns are not real, and neither is the notion that the vaping industry is secretly targeting American’s youth to become addicted to vaping.

Unicorns cartoons: marketing sweet and creamy e-juice to youth was published in the August 2016 edition of Tobacco Control.  Co-authors Jackler and Ramamurthi even provide a long list of e-juices with the word “unicorn” in the brand name to support their outlandish claims.  However, a list of unicorn-enhanced products is not scientific proof of a child-targeting conspiracy, as any reputable scientist from a college university should know. Yet Jackler, in particular, gets very irritated by what he deems are irresponsible marketing practices.


Grass-fed, hormone-free unicorn farms

Jackler seems to be particularly offended by an e-liquid company named Cuttwood Vapers, manufacturer of a product called Unicorn Milk.  In its advertisements, Cuttwoods often states,

“Unicorn Milk comes to you fresh from Cuttwood’s grass-fed, hormone-free Unicorn farm in Los Angeles.  What does Unicorn Milk taste like exactly?  It’s like a blend of four different cream flavors, mixed with all natural strawberry extract.  Yum!”

According to the Stanford professors, Cuttwood’s marketing strategies are intentionally trying to mislead minors into buying their e-juice, because only minors would believe that unicorns are real creatures.  Furthermore, only a teenager would prefer to vape something that tastes like creamy strawberries.  Apparently, adult vapers only vape abhorrent flavor choices like tobacco and menthol.  Adults vapers would never be caught dead vaping anything fruity or sweet or buttery.  


“Few teen starter smokers are likely to be attracted by tobacco-flavoured unicorn-themed ecigarettes…While the 2016 FDA deeming regulations do not place limits on e-cigarette flavours, in the deeming document, the agency indicated that it seeks additional scientific data concerning the roles flavours play in adult cessation of combustible cigarettes and youth initiation to nicotine addiction. It is clear that the FDA is considering invoking the type of flavour ban presently in place for traditional cigarettes.”

Jackler and Ramamurthi obviously are in favor of a nationwide flavor-ban on e-juices.  Luckily, this concept has already been previously overruled by the FDA, at least for the time being.  While the vaping industry can easily laugh out loud when these sorts of junk science articles are published online, we also need to be very cautious, too.  After all, it is these types of phony “research studies” that tend to be taken very seriously by our legislators and politicians with an already very limited understanding of vaping, in general.


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