Vapers Seek Relief From Nicotine Addiction In — Wait For It — Cigarettes

This story additionally ran on CNN. This story could be republished without spending a dime (details).

[UPDATED at 9:15 a.m. ET]

Lucas McClain began smoking cigarettes in highschool however switched to vaping after he heard e-cigarettes had been a safer different.

His vape of alternative turned the Juul, the king of digital cigarettes — which comes with a king-size nicotine hit.

Now 21, McClain needs to give up so badly that he’s turning again to the issue he fled within the first place: good old style cigarettes.

“Juul made my nicotine addiction a lot worse,” the Arlington, Va., resident mentioned. “When I didn’t have it for more than two hours, I’d get very anxious.”

Even although McClain is aware of the risks of cigarettes — lung most cancers runs in his household — he thinks it could be simpler to kick cigarettes than his Juul. Plus, his mother retains warning him concerning the mysterious vaping-related diseases which have sickened a whole bunch throughout the nation.

So final month, McClain purchased his first pack of cigarettes in years. Then he tweeted about it.

“Bought a juul to quit smoking cigarettes,” he wrote, “now I’m smoking cigarettes to quit the juul.” He ended with this hashtag: #circleoflife.

Bought a juul to give up smoking cigarettes… now I’m smoking cigaretttes to give up the juul #circleoflife

— El Mac (@elmacadelic) August 21, 2019

One Juul pod, which supplies about 200 puffs, incorporates as a lot nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. On hectic days, McClain may end a pod in three hours — and as he and others work out just how potent these and different e-cigarettes are, many need out.

Some are turning again to flamable cigarettes — or taking them up for the primary time — in a harmful bid to decrease their nicotine consumption and in the end get off their vapes.

“Isn’t it ironic that to quit juul I bought cigarettes,” says one Twitter user. Another factors out that it’s “strange” that she used the machine to give up smoking cigarettes however is now “way more addicted to my Juul than I ever was to cigs.”

“It sucks,” she mentioned.

Lucas McClain holds a pack of cigarettes and his Juul at his house in Arlington, Va. McClain is again to smoking cigarettes within the hope of quitting the Juul. (Lynne Shallcross/KHN)

It isn’t a whole shock that some younger persons are “going back to the product they were trying to quit in the first place,” mentioned Pamela Ling, a professor of drugs on the University of California-San Francisco who research tobacco and its advertising and marketing.

But it’s worrisome as a result of cigarettes comprise toxins and chemical compounds which might be harmful to their well being, she mentioned.

Vaping might not be secure both. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating at the very least 380 cases of lung disease in 36 states — largely amongst younger folks — probably linked to vaping nicotine and marijuana. Six people have died. California is investigating at the very least 60 cases.

The back-to-smoke development flies within the face of the e-cig trade’s most insistent PR pitch: Vaping helps folks give up smoking cigarettes. In truth, San Francisco-based Juul Labs, which instructions 75% of the e-cig market, says in its mission statement that the corporate goals to remove cigarettes by giving grownup people who smoke “the tools to reduce or eliminate their consumption entirely.”

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In an emailed assertion, Juul didn’t straight tackle the choice by a few of its customers to revert to cigarettes, however once more clung to the chorus that its merchandise are “designed to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes to an alternative nicotine delivery system.”

Ted Kwong, a Juul spokesman, mentioned Juul will not be designed to get folks off nicotine or to deal with nicotine dependence.

For those that criticize Juul’s excessive nicotine content material, Kwong famous that pods are available two strengths — 5% and three% nicotine concentrations — letting customers customise their “switching journey.”

Monday, the Food and Drug Administration reprimanded Juul for selling its merchandise as being safer than cigarettes with out FDA permission. It gave Juul 15 enterprise days to reply.

Vaping has turn into huge enterprise, with the worldwide market projected to hit $48 billion by 2023.

Smoke or vapor, cigarette makers win both approach. Altria, which sells Marlboro and different tobacco manufacturers within the U.S., invested nearly $13 billion in Juul for a 35% stake final yr. Altria has proposed reuniting with Philip Morris International, a unit it offered off in 2008.

One Juul pod supplies about 200 puffs and may comprise as a lot nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. As younger adults understand how potent the Juul and different e-cigarettes could be, some are turning again to flamable cigarettes. (Ana B. Ibarra/KHN)

Even although the trade says vaping is meant for adults, Juul and different vaping pens took off amongst younger folks about two years in the past when teenagers started taking the units to highschool and academics mistook them for flash drives. Students took hits in campus loos and halls, and even at school when academics weren’t wanting.

The e-liquids inhaled from the units comprise nicotine and are available thousands of fruity flavors that enchantment to youngsters.

Michigan final week turned the primary state to ban gross sales of flavored e-cigarettes in an try to finish teen vaping. In June, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors banned the sale of all e-cigarettes, beginning in early 2020. Juul is preventing again with a November poll measure, Proposition C, backed by hundreds of thousands of its personal .

Many former people who smoke attest that vaping was the one factor that helped them quit cigarettes, however the science is mixed. Some research have proven that many vapers proceed to smoke cigarettes.

The FDA has permitted seven remedies for smoking cessation, together with patches, gums and lozenges. Vapes are usually not amongst them, mentioned Dr. Elisa Tong, an affiliate professor of drugs on the University of California-Davis.

Tong mentioned vapers could also be utilizing extra nicotine than they understand. She understands why some select to return to cigarettes, however she doesn’t advocate it.

“What they’re doing is trying to taper down super high levels of nicotine,” she mentioned. “Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t have a manual on how to quit their devices.”

Dr. Amanda Graham, senior vp of improvements on the Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco advocacy group, mentioned she is seeing “desperation and misguided approaches” from teenagers and younger adults making an attempt to free themselves from nicotine.

“Young people are fumbling in the dark with what seems logical,” Graham mentioned. “But there is no safe level of cigarette smoking.”

Early this yr, Graham’s group launched a digital program to assist teenagers and younger adults give up their vaping units. Since then, 41,000 folks between 13 and 24 have enrolled in “This is Quitting,” which sends them suggestions and assist by way of textual content messages.

Chris Gatus of Whittier, Calif., switched from conventional cigarettes to Juul as a result of he thought the machine would assist him give up smoking, he mentioned.

But as a result of his Juul is at all times glued to his palm, he discovered himself utilizing it all over the place and on a regular basis.

“I’ve sort of forgotten what it’s like not to be on nicotine,” mentioned Gatus, 21.

He switched again to cigarettes this yr after noticing his rising dependancy, however that solely resulted in his utilizing each. Now he’s making an attempt completely different vaping pens, in search of one thing much less harsh than the Juul or cigarettes, he mentioned.

Last week, Ryan Hasson of New York City threw out his Juul after experiencing sturdy chest pains and labored respiration when exercising — and after listening to concerning the rising variety of vape-related diseases. He had by no means felt such sturdy signs when he smoked old style cigarettes, he mentioned.

“I don’t plan on ever smoking again, but if I had to choose, I would much rather buy cigarettes over a Juul,” mentioned Hasson, 25.

The similar is true of his pals, he mentioned.

“I think a lot of people are quitting completely or going back to cigarettes,” he mentioned. “They’re waking up to the reality that maybe this isn’t as safe as we once thought.”

This story additionally ran on CNN. This story could be republished without spending a dime (details).

This KHN story first printed on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

[Update: This story was revised at 9:15 a.m. ET on Sept. 13 to reflect new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the scope of vaping-related lung disease cases nationwide.] 

Ana B. Ibarra:”>, @ab_ibarra

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