ERSP blows cloud over vitamin B12 delivery system

What Next?

So, vaping vitamins is a thing. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the myriad substances, legal and illegal, that Americans currently inhale through vaporizer technology ‒ "vaping," if you hadn’t guessed. The introduction of small, easily concealable and portable vaporizer pens means that consumers have been inhaling all sorts of stuff since the first e-cig was introduced in 2007 ‒ tobacco substitutes, marijuana, essential oils, and now vitamins and vitamin blends are getting thrown in the chamber.

One company, for example, sells a mix of ginseng, green coffee extract, grapefruit, lemon and orange essential oils, which is laced with doses of vitamins B12, A, C, D and E, and other substances on the health-and-wellness radar. The maker claims that this mix, when inhaled, confers the benefits of more traditional means of vitamin consumption.

Does it work?

Unstudied

No one's sure yet ‒ studies are hard to come by, and it's not clear that inhaling vaporized vitamins gets you anything that a well-balanced diet wouldn't get you in the first place.

But the vape business is big, and it's starting to get attention from regulators ‒ recall the recent decision by e-cig manufacturer Juul to limit certain forms of advertising in the wake of pressure from the Food and Drug Administration.

Now the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program is climbing into the ring. In the course of routine monitoring, ERSP ran across VitaminVape, Inc., a vitamin B12 vaporizer system that makes all sorts of claims. Here are just a few from its website: "A Better Way To B;" "Better Than Shots & Pills" and "VitaminVape is a personal vaporizer that delivers all the benefits of B12."

The Takeaway

In the summary of its review and recommendations, ERSP maintained, in a masterstroke of understatement, that "the core performance claims in the advertising could reasonably communicate the message that VitaminVape will deliver all the benefits of vitamin B12."

ERSP noted that VitaminVape conducted only one test on the product, and that the data involved in that test raised reliability concerns. Moreover, the company submitted three more general studies on the effectiveness of inhaled B12, but ERSP criticized those studies because they allegedly addressed different B12 mixes and vaporizers than VitaminVape's products.

Based on these weaknesses, ERSP urged VitaminVape to discontinue claims that it provided the energy or other benefits of vitamin B12 and to limit or modify its customer testimonials. Even its crowning tagline, "A Better Way to B," came under criticism for implying that "VitaminVape is superior to shots or pills based on cost, convenience, or effectiveness," an unsupported series of claims, according to ERSP.

VitaminVape promised to modify its advertising based on ERSP's recommendations.