The government of South Korea plans to push for tougher legal restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes, the finance ministry announced April 22. Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan, who also serves as deputy prime minister, told lawmakers in the National Assembly that he would soon “come up with a comprehensive proposal” on e-cigarettes that would ban explicit advertisement of the products, according to a story in The Korea Herald.
According to the country’s health and welfare laws, tobacco product advertising is only allowed inside authorized stores, however, many local e-cigarette dealers explicitly display advertisements and fliers for the products—which are officially classified as cigarette products—on the streets.
“We will see to a comprehensive measure in cooperation with other related ministries,” Choi said.
Vapor Corp.—a leading U.S.-based distributor and retailer of vaporizers, e-liquids, e-cigarettes and e-hookahs—has announced that it is undergoing an organizational restructuring to maintain its competitiveness and establish its branded products and retail stores in the evolving vapor market.
Following a recent merger with Vaporin, Vapor Corp. added several new members to its management team, including president and director Gregory Brauser, chief financial officer James Martin and new board member Robert Swayman.
To further establish its national distribution network, Vapor Corp. has developed new supply deals with key retailers and reorganized inventory in an effort to meet an increasing demand for vapor products. Vapor Corp. also recently opened three new “The Vape Store” locations in Orlando, Florida, and one in Port Charlotte, Florida. The company plans to open an addition 20-30 branded retail “The Vape Stores” before the end of FY 2015.
“With new management, new stores, new deals and new products, Vapor Corp. is well positioned to rise above the competition and take a leadership role in what is currently a highly fragmented e-cig and vaporizer market,” said Brauser. “Vapor Corp.’s merger with Vaporin served as a catalyst for the company’s future success and has helped to pave the way for us to cast a wider net in the industry. Our goal is to reach new and veteran vaping consumers and continue to spread the word about our stores and our products.”
ESmoking WORLD, a leading distributor of e-cigarettes throughout the European market, has opened a manufacturing plant that will begin developing liquid nicotine for use in e-cigarettes by the end of April. The Polish company’s investment of approximately 5 million euros led to the construction of a state-of-the-art facility with the capacity to produce 4 million liquid nicotine packages per month.
In addition to manufacturing products for its network of over 900 eSmoking WORLD stores, the new plant will also manufacture nicotine liquids for OEM brands of other European e-cigarette distributors who stop purchasing products from Chinese liquid nicotine suppliers as a result of the implementation of Tobacco Products Directive regulations.
The manufacturing plant is one of the most modern technological plants of its type and includes original technical solutions and quality-control systems designed by a team of Polish experts from the eSmoking Institute in Poznan, which has researched the content of liquid nicotine and aerosols manufactured in e-cigarettes since 2013.
E-cigarettes are currently used by 1.8 million people in Poland, where the company is the largest supplier of the country’s e-cigarettes for the fast-moving consumer goods sales network and convenience stores.
Current use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products. The findings were gathered by the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey and published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Results from the survey indicate that current e-cigarette use—defined as use on a least one day in the past 30 days—among high school students increased to 13.4 percent 2014 from 4.5 percent in 2013. This marks an increase to 2 million students using e-cigarettes in 2014 from approximately 660,000 students using the devices just one year prior.
Current e-cigarette use among middle school students increased to 3.9 percent in 2014 from 1.1 percent in 2013, an increase to approximately 450,000 students from 120,000 students. The 2014 survey results mark the first time that current e-cigarette use has surpassed the use of other tobacco products overall—including combustible cigarettes—since the National Youth Tobacco Survey began collecting data on e-cigarette use in 2011.
Current hookah use among high school students nearly doubled during this same time period, increasing to 9.4 percent in 2014 from 5.2 percent in 2013—an increase from approximately 770,000 students to approximately 1.3 million students. Meanwhile, current hookah use increased among middle school students to 2.5 percent in 2014 (280,000 students) from 1.1 percent (120,000 students) in 2013.
No decline in the overall use of tobacco products was seen between 2011 in 2014. According to survey results, the overall rates of tobacco product use in 2014 were 7.7 percent for middle school students and 24.6 percent for high school students. The products most commonly used by high school students in 2014 were e-cigarettes, at 13.4 percent; hookah, at 9.4 percent; combustible cigarettes, at 9.2 percent; cigars, at 8.2 percent; smokeless tobacco, at 5.5 percent; snus, at 1.9 percent; and pipes, at 1.5 percent. The products most commonly used in 2014 by middle school students were e-cigarettes, at 3.9 percent; hookah, at 2.5 percent; cigarettes, at 2.5 percent; cigars, at 1.9 percent; smokeless tobacco, 1.6 percent; and pipes, at 0.6 percent. The use of multiple tobacco products was common, with nearly half of all middle and high school students who were classified as current tobacco users using two or more types of tobacco products.
RTI International, a leading nonprofit U.S. research institute, has released a study exploring the potential public health concerns associated with vapor emitted from e-cigarettes. The organization’s research paper—titled “Exhaled electronic cigarette emissions: What’s your secondhand exposure?”—examines the toxins in e-cigarette vapors and the impact they could have on people exposed to secondhand “smoke.”
Although the long-term impact of exposure to e-cigarette vapor is still unknown, the study—which was authored by Jonathan Thornburg, Ph.D., director of Exposure and Aerosol Technology at RTI—found that emissions from e-cigarettes contain enough nicotine and other chemicals to cause concern.
Nonusers who are exposed to secondhand vapor are potentially breathing in aerosol particles similar in size to those found in diesel-engine smoke and smoke produced by traditional cigarettes. Because e-cigarettes lack regulation, the type and amount of chemicals and potential toxins they may contain could vary greatly depending on the device being used.
RTI is particularly concerned with the lack of regulation regarding e-cigarettes and the surge in marketing and sales that has occurred as a result. The e-cigarette category experienced annual sales that doubled yearly to $1 billion in 2013, according to RTI.
A study examining the vapor released from Blu Ecigs’ and Skycig’s e-cigarettes in comparison to the smoke emitted by Philip Morris USA’s Marlboro Gold and Imperial Tobacco’s Lambert & Butler cigarettes found that levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) in cigarette smoke were 1,500 times higher than the levels found in e-cigarette vapor.
The study—titled “Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air”—was published in the December 2014 issue of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. According to proponents of vapor product use, the study lends credence to the belief that, although the long-term effects of inhaling the propylene glycol and glycerin found in e-cigarette vapor are not yet known, such products provide a safer alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes.
According to the study, the e-cigarettes tested contained and delivered mostly glycerin and/or propylene glycol and water, and emitted an aerosol nicotine content that was 85 percent lower than the cigarette smoke nicotine content levels. The study also found the levels of HPHCs to be consistent with the air blanks—at <2 μg/puff—and no significant contribution of tested HPHC classes was found for the e-cigarettes tested. The e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes in the study were tested on a smoking machine to compare the amount of nicotine delivery and the relative yields of chemical constituents.