JUUL use increases by an alarming 78% for high schoolers and 48% for middle schoolers
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
JUULs, or e-cigarettes, have exploded in popularity in recent years — but not among the people for which they were intended. Instead of being used by adults who are trying to stop smoking, teenagers who have never picked up a cigarette are now vaping in record numbers.
In a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, more than 4.9 million high school and middle school students reported using a nicotine product within the last 30 days, an increase from 3.6 million in 2017. According to the CDC, “The rise in e-cigarette use during 2017-2018 is likely because of the recent popularity of e-cigarettes shaped like a USB flash drive, such as JUUL; these products can be used discreetly, have a high nicotine content, and come in flavors that appeal to youths.”1
Teens use JUULs everywhere—in school bathrooms, during class, on social media. The small device is easily hidden and the resultant vapor dispels odorless within seconds. However, doctors and FDA officials are voicing their opposition to this ever-growing epidemic because of the dangerous, long-term consequences these e-cigarettes may have on teens.
What you need to know about JUULs
JUUL emerged in 2015 as an alternative to cigarettes. Designed to help smokers reduce or quit smoking, JUULs are battery-powered devices that convert the liquid into a vapor that you inhale. The portable “nicotine delivery device” mimics the physical and sensory experience of cigarettes without the tobacco or smoke. While some view JUULs as the lesser of two evils, the vaporizers still contain nicotine. In fact, one JUUL pod, which is the cartridge that clicks into the top of the device, contains the nicotine equivalent to approximately 200 cigarette puffs, or one pack of cigarettes.2
What makes JUUL so popular?
From 2017 to 2018, JUUL sales increased by 800%. Today, JUUL makes up 70% of the e-cigarette market share. 3 The wild popularity and success of JUUL are largely attributed to their massive marketing strategy that targeted and attracted teens. JUUL hit the market with a variety of enticing flavors, youth-oriented ads, social media campaigns, and trendy launch parties.
For years, JUUL has denied intentionally targeting youth demographics. However, after months of public scrutiny and backlash from the CDC and Food and Drug Administration, the CEO of JUUL, on July 15, 2019, apologized to parents of teenagers who used the company’s e-cigarette products during a filmed tour of the JUUL factory, adding: “I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them.”4
The foundation of JUUL’s marketing strategy was social media. As it gained popularity, more and more photos and videos could be found when searching the hashtag #juul or #juuling, which has actually become a recognized term in today’s society. Many of those photos and videos were of teens using the product. Lawmakers believe the company knew this and continued to lure teens into using the product.
In response to the heavy criticism and warnings from the FDA, JUUL deleted its social media accounts, stopped selling flavored nicotine pods, and used only individuals 35 and over in its advertisements.
Teens addicted to nicotine
Despite efforts to curb JUUL’s influence and popularity, vaping is still glamorized on the internet, especially among middle and high school students. Yet, most young people do not realize the vaporizers they are smoking contain nicotine. According to a survey by the University of Michigan, a majority of teens believe they are simply vaping flavoring.5 The reality is that 99 percent of electronic cigarettes sold contain nicotine.
Teens are becoming addicted to nicotine without realizing that they have a problem. They are vaping in the bathroom at school, during lunch, on the bus, or even in the classroom when the teacher turns around. The youth e-cigarette epidemic is a public health emergency and the FDA is starting to take action. To learn more about JUUL and how it influences teens, visit the truthinitiative.org.
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