E-cigarette use has exploded, and whether this is a good thing or not depends very much on the vantage point from which it’s viewed.
Both vantage points were on display this morning on the Boston Globe homepage. A huge ad for Juul appeared, promoting efforts the e-cigarette maker says it’s taking to address “youth usage of our product.” Go to the main Juul website and you learn that the company’s “mission” is to target the world’s 1 billion adult smokers and improve their lives by “eliminating cigarettes.”
That’s a lot of life improvement out there to be done.
Meanwhile, the Globe homepage also featured a news story reporting that researchers at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health have found traces of endotoxin, a microbial agent found on Gram-negative bacteria, in more than a quarter of e-cigarette, single-use cartridges and the liquid used to refill them. Traces of glucan, which is found in the cell walls of most fungi, was in 81 percent of e-cigarette samples.
A statement from the school said the substances are linked to “myriad health problems in humans, including asthma, reduced lung function, and inflammation.”
Something to consider by the scads of people one now sees everywhere drawing deep on vape pens.
The idea behind e-cigarettes is to deliver a jolt of the nicotine that smokers are hooked on without all the cancer risk and other health hazards that come from inhaling combusted tobacco. Juul delivers that nicotine buzz in a way other e-cigarettes don’t, Michael Siegel, a physician and professor at Boston University School of Public Health, told NPR’s “On Point” earlier this month.
While the company says it wants to target adult cigarette smokers, for whom vaping may be the lesser of two evils, Juul use is, in fact, exploding among teenagers. A 2017 study said 11 percent of US 12th graders had vaped nicotine in the previous 30 days. Most students who take up vaping are nonsmokers.
With the long-term effects of e-cigarettes unclear, the New York Times said public health experts are calling today’s young people the “guinea pig generation.”
The new report on contaminated e-cigarettes is not the first to raise health concerns. Vaping liquids include components that form carcinogenic compounds when heated. One study cited by the Times found increased levels of five carcinogenic compounds in the urine of teenagers who vape.
“I’m afraid that we’re going to be hooking a new generation of kids on nicotine, with potentially unknown risks,” Dr. Mark L. Rubinstein, the lead author of the study and a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, told the newspaper.
Juul has been in the news locally because former attorney general Martha Coakley, who took on tobacco companies and e-cigarette makers while in office, recently signed on as a full-time Juul employee in the company’s government affairs division.
While the publicly minded company says it’s working hard now to keep Juul out of the hands of teenagers, presumably once it succeeds at its mission of getting the world’s 1 billion adult smokers to switch to e-cigarettes for a period of time, it will then turn its attention to weaning them off the nicotine-laced products.
Animal shelters voiced strong opposition to new regulations put out by the state Department of Agricultural Resources. (MassLive)
A British company that recently announced plans for Boston’s first privately operated student dorm has plans for a second dorm and possibly a third. (Boston Globe)
The Pittsfield City Council shoots down a plan put forth by Mayor Linda Tyer to issue zero-interest housing-rehab loans to homeowners. (Berkshire Eagle)
Claiming he had no knowledge of an alleged practice where library janitors falsified time sheets, Jim Meade, the former superintendent of buildings for the Boston Public Library, has accused the city of wrongful termination and wants to clear his name. (WGBH)
To impeach or not? The state’s all-Democrat House delegation is divided on the question. (Boston Globe) Meanwhile, contrary to his blow-up-the-system stance on many issue, Bernie Sanders is in the go-slow camp on the issue. (Boston Globe)
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he disagrees with Bernie Sanders’s statement that prisoners should retain the right to vote. Walsh did not even seem to be fully on board with those saying voting rights should be automatically restored once people leave prison. (Boston Herald)
The New York Times takes stock of the world according to Bill Weld.
Jamie Zahlaway Belsito campaigned for Republican Richard Tisei when he ran for Congress in 2014, but now she intends to run as a Democrat against the man who defeated Tisei — Seth Moulton. (CommonWealth)
James Rooney, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and a member of House and Senate groups focused on taxes, says the business community is looking for three Rs — revenue, reform, and results. (CommonWealth)
One study found that Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station generated about $250 million in economic output for the Plymouth area and its closure in May will affect local businesses like Boli Matute‘s pizza shop, which typically delivers 15 pies at a time to the plant. (WBUR)
The Stop & Shop strike has revived the debate over time-and-a-half Sunday pay for retail workers, an issue dealt with as part of the recent “grand bargain” on Beacon Hill. (Boston Globe)
Boston school superintendent finalist Brenda Cassellius says she opposes “individual high-stakes” testing. (Boston Globe) She followed up on Twitter to say that would include the state’s 10th grade MCAS graduation requirement.
The Department of Children and Families has cleared Haverhill Alternative School principal John DePolo and four others of any wrongdoing after an incident where staff restrained a student who was lashing out violently. (Eagle-Tribune)
Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline is the latest New England college in financial trouble. (Boston Globe)
Massachusetts Nurses Association officials and Lawrence General Hospital have reached agreement on a new three-year contract covering the hospital’s 498 nurses, which would result in hourly wages of $32.30 for new hires and $63.98 for the most experienced nurses. (Salem News)
A new poll financed by the Barr Foundation says few people expect their commute to improve over the next five years, despite massive investments underway at the MBTA. (CommonWealth)
Uber says 10,000 of its customers petitioned Massport to back off its plan to hike fees on ride-hailing apps and require all pickups and dropoffs at the airport to take place in the central parking garage. (CommonWealth)
Boston Harbor Now and others are pitching new ferry service to connect Quincy’s Squantum Point to downtown with a possible stop at Columbia Point and expand service to Charlestown. (WBUR) The Patriot Ledger has more on Mayor Tom Koch’s thoughts about the project.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is hoping to establish a significantly lower threshold for some contaminants known as per- and polyflouroalkyl substances, or PFAS with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Joint Base Cape Cod officials in Pocasset have been tracking the contaminant levels in area waterways and homes, some of which have hit the federal contamination level of 70 parts per million, derived from a firefighting training area on-base. (Cape Cod Times)
There was a tiny earthquake under the seafloor about 15 miles east-southeast from Marblehead on Monday evening. (Gloucester Daily Times)
Town officials in Hingham are preparing to take over the town’s privately owned municipal water system after a landslide vote at a town meeting. Selectmen met with representatives from Aquarion on Tuesday morning just hours after nearly 80 percent of voters signaled their support for a $114 million plan that would bring the water system back under town control for the first time since 1879. (Patriot Ledger)
The Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled that, except for in extraordinary circumstances, police need a warrant to “ping” someone’s location via their cellphone. (Boston Globe)
A Globe editorial laments the fact that the state court system does not seem to open up show-cause hearings conducted by clerk magistrates, which are often closed to the public.
A new lawsuit against UMass Dartmouth claims a graduate student at the School for Marine Science and Technology was sanctioned and pushed out of his program because he had a previous felony conviction, even though he says he disclosed it when he applied. (Standard Times)
Robert Chain plans to plead guilty to charges that he threatened to kill Boston Globe journalists. The threats were in retaliation for editorials condemning President Trump’s attacks on the news media. (Associated Press)
The Markup, a well-financed nonprofit news site being developed to scrutinize technology and its impact on society, fired its editor, which led to many of its staffers resigning. Julia Angwin, the editor, said the publisher fired her because she wasn’t cooperating with an effort to reorient the publication’s mission toward advocacy against tech companies. (New York Times)
Cesar Sayoc, who pled guilty to terrorism charges for mailing pipe bombs to the media and Democrats, told the judge he had been abusing steroids and described attending a Trump rally as like “a new found drug.” (CNN)