Up in smoke? With vaping on the edge of banishment, let our experts help with your coverage

Jul 7, 2022

4 min

Zubair Karim, PhD

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has paused a ban on the sale of Juul Labs' e-cigarettes, saying an additional review of the company's marketing application is required.

The once thriving company won a temporary reprieve a couple of weeks ago after a federal appeals court stayed the FDA's ban, following an appeal from Juul for an emergency review of the regulator's order.

Juul has always been in the spotlight, in part because of its prominent placement atop the e-cigarette chain, but with the company facing a potential demise, it could be the first casualty, with the rest of the vaping industry in the government's sights.

Dr. Zubair Karim, assistant professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at Augusta University, fields a few questions and lends his expert perspective on this topic.

With the ban on Juul products, could this result in a ban on other companies’ e-cigarette products as well, or was there something specifically about Juul that caused their ban?

This is the first steps toward the banning of the e-cigarette, i.e., Juul, where the FDA took a significant and bold step. Gradually, this will open the path for banning of the other e-cigarette products. There are no differences in the Juul and other products but Juul became more popular in our young generation. Many local and state jurisdictions have recently begun enacting laws that prohibit e-cigarette usage that smoking is banned, although some state laws with comprehensive smoke-free laws will still allow for vaping to be permitted in bars and restaurants while prohibiting e-cigarettes in other indoor places.

On a more basic level, what are platelets (where are they, and what do they do) and do we know what has caused them to react more negatively compared to traditional smoking?

Platelets are small and colorless stem cell fragments present in our blood. They are disk-shaped and don’t have a nucleus. It plays an important role in maintaining vascular integrity based on their ability to respond to lesions in a vessel wall. Hyperactivity of platelets is known to cause spurious clot formation and occlusive loss of blood flow, leading to strokes and heart attacks, whereas hypoactivity causes bleeding diathesis with life-threatening consequences. Several studies have been reported that smoking induces oxidative stress, leading to increased platelet activation, whereas nicotine causes the damage of endothelial lining of the arterial and venous system and ultimately leads to the severe life-threatening consequences.

What are thrombotic events and why should someone be worried about them?

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot (partial or complete blockage) within blood vessels, whether venous or arterial, limiting the natural flow of blood. There are several complications depending on where the thrombosis is located. The most serious problems include stroke, heart attack and serious breathing problems, which is called pulmonary embolism. If the patients are not treated in a timely manner, it will lead to life-threatening conditions. However, progression of the disease can be prevented by following changes in our lifestyle such as increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, losing weight, eating a balanced diet, quitting junk food and managing other health conditions.

How do nicotine and other harmful chemical levels compare in vaping vs. traditional cigarettes?

Both smoking and vaping have similar side effects and cause serious health risks in the long run. Scientists do not fully understand the long-term health effects of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), yet science indicates that they are not a safe alternative to smoking. In the last several years it has been observed that vaping is growing in popularity among teenagers. Moreover, e-cigarettes contain a large dose of nicotine, a substance known to slow the development of brains in fetuses, children and teens. Furthermore, vaping involves breathing in aerosol that contains several chemicals, including nicotine and flavoring through an e-cigarette or other devices. Also, the liquid present in the e-cigarettes which creates the vapor is dangerous to adults and children if they swallow, inhale, or get it on the skin. Nonetheless, vaping also delivers dangerous chemicals, including diacetyl, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and such toxic chemicals that are not generated in traditional cigarettes. In summary, long-term vaping causes similar toxic impact to overall health compared to traditional cigarettes.

This court case will be getting a lot of attention and could determine the future of the e-cigarette industry. If you're a journalist looking to know - then let Augusta University's expert help.

Karim is available to speak with reporters about vaping and e-cigarettes. Simply click on his icon now to arrange an interview today.

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Zubair Karim, PhD

Zubair Karim, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

Karim researches signaling and the SNARE secretory machinery in platelets to understand their contribution to health and disease.

Smoking and Cardiovascular DiseaseThrombosisHemostasisPlatelet Exocytosis and SignalingE-cigarettes

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