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New products that facilitate stealth vaping: the case of SLEAV
  1. Allison Dormanesh,
  2. Jon-Patrick Allem
  1. Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jon-Patrick Allem, Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90032, USA; allem{at}usc.edu

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Stealth vaping (ie, the use of devices resembling everyday products to facilitate inconspicuous vaping) has proliferated in the face of smoke-free air laws that include electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).1–3 To this end, companies are modifying smartwatches, video games, toys and apparel to help conceal vaping when it is prohibited. For example, Vaprwear Gear’s backpacks and hoodies use a silicone tube designed to connect to an e-cigarette through their pockets or straps, hiding the device itself.4 These products may appeal to adolescents as they help conceal the use of e-cigarettes from their parents and teachers. In the spring of 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took measures to reduce stealth vaping among youths by issuing warning letters to numerous companies, including Vaprwear Gear, Vapewear, Wizman, EightCig, Ejuicepack, Vape Royalty, VapeCentric, Dukhan Store, VapeSourcing and Shenzhen Uwell Technology,4 expressing concern that they each marketed stealth vaping products to youths.

Additional companies have begun selling auxiliary products designed to be paired with e-cigarettes. Through our systematic surveillance of tobacco industry practices and promotions using social media data,5 we recently identified a new product that may be of interest to the tobacco control community, educators and parents alike. SLEAV, a compact pocket filter manufacturer operating in San Diego, California, promotes an attachable, smoke-free device that claims it can reduce secondhand smoke (aerosol) through a proprietary filter.6 Users can attach their personal e-cigarette (eg, Puff Bar, JUUL) to the filter in the silicone case designed by SLEAV (figure 1) that captures the exhale of vapour through its mouthpiece, diminishing the vapour and odour without impeding airflow. Similar to previous products meant to conceal e-cigarette use, SLEAV can provide youths with an easy way to hide aerosol as well as the smell in public and private settings like home and school. Products can be purchased from SLEAV through their website and through Instagram’s purchasing feature. SLEAV uses both Instagram with 4822 followers and 46 posts7 and Facebook with 32 followers and 77 posts8 to market and advertise their products, including the use of discounts (eg, 30% off Black Friday sale). Images on both platforms regularly feature young adults using e-cigarettes and cannabis vape products (eg, STIIIZY) along with their device.

Figure 1

SLEAV case and filter packaging and directions for use.

The company states that, “SLEAV provides you the freedom to choose WHEN and WHERE you vape, without worrying about affecting those around you”.6 While touted as a strategy to remove ‘secondhand smoke’ and promote public health,6 SLEAV’s product provides opportunities for youth to conceal vaping on school grounds, as well as allow all users to circumvent current tobacco policies in place. Circumventing clean indoor air laws has been documented in previous research, for instance, stealth vaping takes place by experienced users in locations such as in airports or on airplanes, at work, bars/nightclubs, restaurants and movie theatres,3 as well as by adolescents on school grounds—specifically in bathrooms, hallways and classrooms.1 Parents, teachers and the tobacco control community may want to consider products like SLEAV, when investigating ways to identify and reduce stealth vaping in the future. SLEAV is another example of a non-nicotine, add-on product used alongside vaping devices that has been designed to circumvent tobacco control policies, for example, Puff Krush provides a flavour additive to be used with e-cigarette devices meant to circumvent current flavour restrictions.9 The FDA may consider issuing a warning letter to SLEAV in its efforts to reduce e-cigarette products that appeal to minors (ie, individuals under the age of 21).10

Ethics statements

Ethics approval

The University of Southern California Institutional Review Board approved all study procedures.

References

Footnotes

  • Contributors Concept and design: AD. Drafting of the manuscript: AD and J-PA. Critical revision and final approval of manuscript: J-PA and AD. Obtained funding: J-PA. All authors are affiliated with Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

  • Funding This project was partially supported by funds provided by The Regents of the University of California, Research Grants Programme Office, Tobacco-Related Diseases Research Programme, Grant Number No. T30IR0891. The opinions, findings and conclusions herein are those of the authors and not necessarily represent those of The Regents of the University of California, or any of its programmes.

  • Disclaimer The funding source had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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