From The Reading List

Wired: “So You Want to Quit Vaping? No One Actually Knows How” — “Remember when e-cigarettes were supposed to be the safer way to smoke? With cases of a mysterious, sometimes lethal respiratory illness on the rise, that myth has gone up in a cloud of … vapor. Fearful of being reduced to wheezing, bed-ridden hospital patients, a growing number of users are trying to kick their vaping habit.

“But how do you quit the product that was supposed to help you quit?

“Basically, no one knows. ‘It’s a major research gap,’ says Rachel Grana, the program director at the National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Control Research Branch.

“E-cigarettes often contain nicotine, THC, or both. But their design can make them more addictive, and harder to quit, than regular cigarettes. Vape pens can deliver greater doses of nicotine because they use nicotine salts, which are smoother to inhale. Add in tempting flavors like ‘I love cookies’ and ‘Unicorn milk,’ and tobacco’s harsh flavor is almost completely obscured, making it easier to use the devices frequently and to get addicted faster.

“Those features can catch unsuspecting users by surprise, especially teenagers. Some kids who started vaping had no idea e-cigarettes even contained nicotine, says Yvonne Prutzman, also a program director at the National Cancer Institute. A recent survey finds that the number of teenagers who say they’ve vaped in the preceding month has doubled in the past two years. Almost 12 percent of high school seniors say they now vape daily.”

Wall Street Journal: “Teens Ignored Vaping Warnings For Years. Now, Some Are Scared.” — “For years at Buffalo High School here outside Minneapolis, many students were defiant about vaping. Now, some of them are starting to get scared.

“Mounting deaths and mystery illnesses are beginning to raise new fears among kids. ‘I think it was supposed to be a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. That’s like not the case anymore,’ said Nicole Odeen, a 17-year-old senior at Buffalo High in this town of nearly 16,000 located about 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis. ‘Hundreds are in the hospital. With anything you’re putting into your lungs, you’ve gotta know there’s got to be some downsides to it,’ said junior Elle Kaiser, 16.

“Concerns about the health consequences of vaping are hitting the epicenter of the public health crisis around e-cigarettes: the American high school. ‘People are thinking, “This is a big deal. I’ve got to pay attention.” It is horrible that it had to come to the tragedy of kids losing their lives, but now it’s at least in front of people,’ said Mark Mischke, the principal of Buffalo High School.”

The Verge: “People are throwing their Juuls out windows and drenching them in water just to quit” — “Henry Korman is exactly who Juul wants using its e-cigarettes. He’s not a teen, and he’s a former smoker, so he thought substituting a vape for cigarettes was a healthy decision when he switched two years ago. But then, he wanted to quit the Juul, too. He tried multiple times, cold turkey, to no avail. The Juul addiction stuck around, at least until he found sugar snap peas.

“‘I carry around this big bag of sugar snap peas to keep me occupied and replace the Juul,’ he says. ‘I used to say “phone, keys, wallet, Juul” — that’s what I needed to have before I left the house. But now it’s “phone, keys, wallet, peas.” ‘

“Korman’s not alone in trying to kick his Juul habit. What started as a way for some people to wean themselves off cigarettes has turned into a new kind of addiction made worse by the ability to vape just about anywhere. In other cases, people who started vaping just because the Juul was around have developed new nicotine habits. For both types of users, quitting has proven immensely difficult.”

This content was originally published here.