The Juul, an e-cigarette that delivers a nicotine hit equal to the amount in two packs of cigarettes, may be one of the toughest addictions to break
If you’re a parent who allows their child to vape because you think it’s better than smoking cigarettes, you might want to think again. The hottest brand of e-cigarette on the market today is called Juul, and teens all over America are firing it up. Sleek design, sweet flavors, and a nicotine content that’s off the charts are getting high school teens hooked, and is creating the next generation of smokers. Your child may be using Juul and you may be absolutely clueless it’s happening. One reason for that is because Juul is designed to appear just like a flash drive or some other similar piece of tech hardware your teen needs for school. Pretty sneaky, eh? Time to look in that backpack, parents.
FROM BUSINESS INSIDER: Adult customers say they find the high nicotine content as satisfying as conventional cigarettes, but the Juul also has a growing number of teen fans, whose developing brains are uniquely vulnerable to addiction. Those teens could become a new generation of smokers, researchers warn.
“This is really the genie you can’t put back in the bottle,” Matthew Myers, the president of the nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Business Insider.
In recent months — as a backlash against Juul has grown — the company has been emphatic that its products are not intended for teens, and Juul has taken measures to counter that reputation. But researchers and advocates say that teens who’ve been attracted to the devices’ sleek design and sweet flavors may now be addicted to nicotine. Young people who vape may be up to seven times more likely to smoke regular cigarettes than teens who never try an e-cig, according to several peer-reviewed studies.
Juul is incredibly addictive and your teen is at risk
Since April, consumers have filed at least three lawsuits against Juul for what they allege are deceptive marketing practices that didn’t clearly outline how addictive nicotine is, Wired recently reported. On Tuesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey launched an investigation into the company to determine if Juul violated state consumer-protection laws by failing to keep minors from buying their products. Those challenges come on the heels of several other legal hurdles for the company, including a San Francisco ban on flavored tobacco and a Food and Drug Administration crackdown.
Juul now represents 70.5% of the e-cig market, and dollar sales climbed 738% in the four-week period that ended on July 14, according to Nielsen data.
Teens seem to love it. Instagram and YouTube are full of videos of teens vaping, or “Juuling,” in class and even on the sly in front of teachers. Those photos and videos can double as unintentional advertisements for the product.
“Once something is the rage like this, the kids are doing it for you,” Myers said of Juul’s growing teen following.
A Juul Labs spokesperson told Business Insider that the company has been working with Instagram and Facebook in recent months to remove any content showing minors using the Juul, and has successfully taken down more than 4,000 posts from the platforms. In June, the company announced that it would no longer feature models on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and would instead exclusively show former smokers who switched from combustible cigarettes to the Juul.
But Myers said those efforts have come too late.
A string of high schools along the East Coast has already cited “Juuling” in bathroom stalls as a widespread problem, and dozens of teachers have reported confiscating Juul devices disguised as Sharpies and other classroom items.
“I don’t go anywhere where there isn’t a parent in the audience who isn’t concerned about the Juul,” Myers said. “I’ve never seen a phenomenon like this before.”
Ana Rule, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and an author of a recent study on e-cigs and teens, agrees that young people’s use of e-cigs — no matter the brand — is a huge concern.
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