- This just news in.
Here, is that news.
Some of it.
This is some news, more of it.
People are awfully concerned about vaping,
a thing that, much like the new Joker movie,
is mostly enjoyed by insufferable young men,
is vaguely but probably not harmful,
and just exhausting to talk about.
Like, even the word itself, with all them V's and P's,
makes it physically taxing to say.
I hate it.
According to the CDC, as of the taping of this episode
there has been a recent outbreak of vaping-related
pulmonary illness including over 1,000
mostly-young victims and nearly 20 deaths.
And what seems to make that even scarier
is that no one can definitively say why that's happening.
A lot of these deaths or medical emergencies
are being linked to THC products from the black market,
while other studies are pointing out
that perhaps inhaling oil is not great,
and here's another investigation linking it with Vitamin E?
But even before this specific scare, this hip new way
to inhale things not normally inhaled has been the subject
of much debate over its attractiveness to teens,
possible health effects, and future in America.
Should we ban vaping?
Or should we celebrate it
as a safer alternative to cigarettes?
Is it even helping people quit?
It is, objectively, a safer, futuristic way to inhale drugs.
And that's like, some kind of Star Trek.
The Final Blunteer.
And heck, roughly the same amount of people
have been killed by falling coconuts as e-cigarettes,
but the difference is
that we at least know why that happens.
We're seeing the plane crash effect where the death
is so dramatic and horrific
that we don't care how statistically probable it is.
After all, even if you don't vape yourself,
you probably know someone who does.
Perhaps a sibling or friend or a son
that you only remember is biologically yours
until halfway through a sentence describing him.
- And I'm hearing it
and that's how the first lady got involved.
She's got a son, together, that is a beautiful young man
and she feels very, very strongly about it.
Every word from that man is a gift.
Except all the racist and sexist stuff
and publicly threatening for a civil war
when he gets caught for doing crimes.
But all those other words, mmm, golden treasure.
A little more?
- Especially vaping as it pertains to innocent children.
They're coming home and they're saying, "Mom I wanna vape!"
- Mm, yum.
One more time.
- "Mom I wanna vape."
- Mm, yum.
Anyway, so is our vaping fear merely a reactionary
media panic over something new and confusing
and we're pretty (beep) hypocritical
about what we decide is and isn't harmful?
But to be balanced, and fair, but mostly balanced,
but also fair again in order to balance things out,
which I guess would add an extra balance and make me
more balanced than fair and therefore not as balanced
as I hoped and I apologize.
But to be all of that, I want to take a moment to point out
that while vaping is a far better alternative to smoking,
it's not really being used to quit
and in most cases just replaces one addiction
with another, albeit a healthier one.
But it's still an addiction.
It's still paying a company lots of money for a dependence.
And if you're using nicotine e-cigarettes,
that can actually get you more hooked to the substance
because of how easy it is to do.
There are now people talking about how they had to switch
back to cigarettes to ease their addiction.
So no, it's not a great way to quit smoking,
and has actually reversed a lot of progress
in getting teenagers to quit a dependence.
According to the American Lung Association,
the best association to get all your sweet lung facts,
tobacco use amongst teens peaked in the 90s
with 36.4% of students admitting to smoking cigarettes.
As we tightened restrictions over the years,
that number went down to 9.3% in 2015.
But don't worry, people-who-like-it-when-teens-inhale-stuff
not-normally-inhaled, because at the same time
the use of e-cigarettes went up, and according to multiple
studies is currently at around 37.3% for teens who vape.
You might recognize how those two numbers are very similar,
and in fact the current one is the highest of the two.
But to be clear, that's still healthier than smoking
and not all vaping includes nicotine.
But even if you're not vaping nicotine,
you're still putting something in an orifice
that has no business being in that orifice.
And, as evidenced by the recent epidemic, every time humans
stick something new in one of their orifices,
there's going to be a chance your body won't enjoy
having that thing inside of it and it will try to die.
But again, better than smoking.
But also, not good for you, even without the nicotine.
Like, if everyone stopped drinking alcohol and instead
had big parties where they binged on gallons of maple syrup,
that would be technically better, sure.
But also, bad.
Goodish and bad.
Like a word between those two words.
We've created a device that allows you to inhale any liquid
you want smoke-free, potentially creating an alternative
to a much deadlier product.
But we also didn't regulate that device.
Additionally we also created teenagers,
a type of people who, if they're cool enough,
are willing to inhale just about anything.
Assuming they're cool and not babies.
There's entire subreddits devoted to DIY vaping,
and here are some videos of young folks inhaling everything
from ketchup to hot sauce to (beep) hand sanitizer.
Here's a forum with some kid asking if they could vape
soda and energy drinks, the answer obviously being:
yes, if you're cool enough.
Like, that kind of cool misuse is obviously bad.
But since we're still trying to figure out just how
bad the commercial e-liquids are, and why they're bad,
it's become a tad complicated situation.
Especially since we blew the first couple decades
of e-cigarette existence completely ignoring
the possibility of health consequences
and in fact helped tobacco companies profit from them.
Hey, did you hear about that time the FDA
tried to ban kid-friendly vaping flavors back in 2015?
It was a proposal backed by countless scientists
and health experts pointing out that vaping companies
were using the same flavor ingredients
in their nicotine products as popular candies,
and were clearly designed to attract children.
Then a bunch of Obama administration officials
met with tobacco lobbyists for 50 days,
having a series of meetings aimed at debunking the FDA rule.
Altria Group, a company heavily invested in Juul
that was formally known as Philip (beep) Morris,
sent four representatives to help push
an industry friendly version of the legislation.
When the FDA rule was eventually passed, it had completely
excluded any kind of flavoring ban and wiped out
15 pages of evidence supporting the link
between flavors and youth smoking.
This is according to the LA Times, who recently went through
the early drafts of the FDA's rule as well as meeting logs
detailing the insane and effective effort
from tobacco companies to influence the then-current
administration to completely sell out high school kids
in order to protect an industry
that's literally manufacturing addiction.
I'm not even sarcastically being sarcastic.
I'm legitimately non-sarcastically saying
that sarcastic thing people say thanking Obama
when they really don't like Obama
because he really (beep) up there.
That (beep) is a scandal
and it doesn't even involve bombing a civilian wedding.
Anyway, so now that's where we are, and instead
of figuring out the nuance of this issue we're eyeballing
the possibility of banning vaping altogether.
Like if you ignored your car's check engine light
for 10 years before just pushing it into a quarry,
which of course is the proper way to dispose of cars
and appliances and chemicals and stuff.
And as the panic ramps, people are just gonna get dumber
about finding solutions, such as this high school
that removed its bathroom stall doors to combat vaping,
which is silly, because high school teens need
bathroom doors more than anyone, you know,
to hide from the shooters.
Anyway, Mr. President, any comment about how kids
are getting shot all the time?
- Vaping has become a very big business as I understand it,
like a giant business in a very short period of time.
But we can't allow people to get sick
and we can't have our youth be so affected.
- Sure, whatever.
I hate all of this.
But also, he's not wrong.
We shouldn't have our youth get affected
by large companies profiting off their sickness.
No, not that youth, the other ones,
with the mostly white faces.
But seriously, if Trump manages to ban
flavored nicotine e-cigarettes
despite overwhelming industry influence then he will
have actually done something better than Obama.
And perhaps we should, for the sake of a greater good,
point that out to him a bunch.
So that's the plan.
Get Trump to ban flavored vaping, then like,
I dunno, impeach him for the other stuff.
Then we can dust off our hands, turn off the internet,
and enjoy a cushy Mike Pence presidency.
Only, for the sake of argument, let's say that none
of what I just said was good or true.
I mean, yes, I believe I've stressed that vaping
isn't healthy and should ideally exist in a world
where it's used to curb the habits of cigarette smokers.
And failing that, at least not be made
to appeal to teenagers.
This is all true.
But also true is that, since vaping didn't immediately fall
under any specific regulatory category,
the government spent nearly two decades
just completely ignoring the dangers, and in that time
created a situation where countless small businesses
could be formed solely around vaping.
Businesses often run by lower class folks
living out exactly what the American dream
and capitalism is supposed to be.
And now that states are issuing sweeping bans, those small
businesses are going to no longer have a product.
Many of these businesses are currently speaking up,
even suing states over this.
But none of that will matter, because unlike gun violence
and healthcare reform, vaping is something
that actually affects the people in charge.
We must save Baron, you guys.
You can already see the dark irony forming.
Because if we get a sweeping ban of flavored e-cigarettes,
the only businesses that would survive are big vaping brands
like Blu or Vuse or Juul,
all of which are owned by large tobacco companies.
The same companies that e-cigarettes are supposed to combat.
The same companies that have literally tried to fight
against vaping to protect their bigger product.
In what is the hilarious reality of capitalism,
these large companies came in to lobby
against a flavor ban long enough to hook high schoolers,
and then will have their competition wiped out
when that ban finally goes into effect.
Another much-needed win for gold-plated taints everywhere!
Oh, fun bit of information:
tobacco companies are doing great!
When the government created a bunch of regulations
and they got sued and all that,
they just raised their prices and conducted
a series of giant mergers to counteract it.
It's a real rags to riches to getting richer
and staying rich and then killing a bunch of people
to getting sued and then back to riches story.
Two of those companies, Reynolds American and Lorillard,
recently merged into a super company despite the fact
that they were already once part of a single company
that our government forced to break up back in 1911.
Capitalism is just...
So (beep) it, where do we go from here?
On one hand, we're selling a product that is dangerous.
But on the other hand, we don't know how dangerous it is,
and banning it would destroy thousands of businesses
and hand more power to the already powerful.
It's almost as if there needs to be like, a third option.
Like if banning vaping was the color black,
and not banning vaping was the color white,
there should be like, an area between those two colors.
Like a bl, bwhite, or whack.
Because it's not like e-cigarettes are the only harmful
product we allow to be sold in the country.
We have the right, as consenting adults, to consume
something that kills us a little bit in exchange
for a brief moment of shade
from the blinding light that is reality.
Most everyone has an addition.
I'm on PCP right now, and you don't see the government
cracking down on...
When did that?
I'm not on PCP and never have done PCP before
and don't do PCP now and won't do PCP later.
So what's a better solution?
I mean, we could maybe try doing better
with the regulations we already have, for starters.
Because at the moment we're absolutely not doing that.
Last year when "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"
tried to figure out how many inspections of vape shops
were happening in Georgia, they were told
by the Department of Revenue to ask the FDA who told them
to ask the state department of public health,
who told them to ask the Department of Revenue again.
They also found that, thanks to the weird confusion
and lack of enforcement, most teens in that state
could easily buy e-cigarettes despite being underage.
And that makes sense.
If you don't enforce the laws, then yeah,
the laws won't work.
In case you need more proof of this glaringly obvious fact,
here's a study in the journal Pediatrics that also found
teen vaping was a third more likely
in areas where vaping laws were more lax.
Because uhhh, no poop.
Also in the yeah no poop, ya dopes category
is the fact that many of the e-juice flavors
currently approved by the FDA have only been technically
cleared for ingestion and not inhalation.
You know, because if you can put something in one of your
organs, you can definitely put it in all of your organs.
That's just biology.
Oh and here's a study in the journal
"Environmental Health Perspectives" that points out the vape
pens themselves could possibly be releasing metal into you.
Into your body.
Specifically the part of your body that gives you air.
But hey, we probably don't have to look into that.
So it might be a good idea to, before issuing a complete ban
on something that isn't nearly as dangerous
as guns or actual cigarettes,
just try to enforce the laws better first?
Maybe punch up those shoddy regulations?
And do a few more studies to figure out
how we can avoid inhaling metal?
Do more crackdowns on shady vaping manufacturers
and make sure the retailers are complying
with the regulations.
I dunno, maybe that's just crazy PCP talk.
Talk, it's just talk.
Why would I?
Why would I say PCP?
I didn't mean.
I didn't mean whatever it is I said.
It just makes you appreciate the marijuana industry
for really having to walk that line,
something the vaping industry may or may not be able to do.
There's a fear that legalized weed and regulation
would create a similar situation where big tobacco
would overtake the product and we would kill
everything that makes weed awesome.
And while that will happen to an extent,
luckily the direction the industry is going in
more closely resembles craft beer, where thanks to the laws
being different in each state, different marijuana strains
are enjoyed as a regional product
that encourages a lot of locally owned businesses.
Weed and vaping, while very different in some ways,
share a symbiotic relationship.
A lot of people vape THC, not to mention
that the demonization of vaping and vaping as it relates
to small businesses and the working class is similar
to what happened when weed was first criminalized.
Ironically, starting in California,
a state that is 80% weed now.
And the weed industry knows this, and is currently
asking that we open up legalizations on both weed
and vaping as a way to better regulate both of those things.
Which is probably the smarter route.
Because again, we're at a crossroads here.
We can accept that vaping isn't healthy,
stop pretending it's a magic alternative to smoking,
but also keep it available,
in variety, and highly regulated.
Perhaps we can allow flavored vaping
only when there's no nicotine and closer scrutiny
over the ingredients, completely stop online sales,
and hold businesses more accountable
for selling to underage kids.
Or, we can ban everything that isn't available behind
the counter of a 7-Eleven, snuff out the vaping industry,
and hand e-cigarettes over to the major tobacco corporations
who can make money off of pretending
there's a healthy alternative to cigarettes.
It's just so arbitrary, you know?
The things we choose to ban versus the drugs we approve
and the terrible food we allow.
And it's all just tied to the status quo.
Nobody panics when things go according to plan,
even if the plan is horrifying.
Like if I said that a truckload of soldiers
will be blown up, nobody panics when they blow up,
because it's all part of the plan.
But when I say that, like, one little old sick Baron
will get sick, well, then everyone loses their minds!
Great quote, by me.
Somebody stop me, I'm the Joker.
It's my favorite quote from the new film.
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