The Juul Epidemic
What’s wrong with JUUL – it turns out EVERYTHING!
In just two years the JUUL e-cigarette has managed to reverse nearly two decades of progress in reducing teenage addiction to nicotine. This Silicon Valley startup created a storm of social media marketing cynically directed specifically at kids. JUUL purchased youthful “influencers” to target large teen audiences on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and other platforms. Within a few months, the result was in hundreds of millions JUUL use views to kids across the globe.
The JUUL device itself is a small, concealable, sleek and dramatically different product. It’s often called the “iPhone” of e-cigarettes, and more closely resembles a memory stick or USB “thumb” drive than any other e-cigarette.
Teen vape is surging
Trends in recent use of cigarettes and vape devices among 12 graders
Source: “National Adolescent Drug Trends in 2018,” NEJM
According to the FDA, 3.6 million middle school and high school kids have already addicted to e-cigarettes, principally JUUL. There’s also good evidence that a similar number of college-age students are also regular users. That’s seven million young people on a road to long term nicotine use. Early nicotine addiction is a powerful gateway to lifelong, combustible cigarette use, as well as abuse of other addictive substances. There is also increasing evidence that mental illness including bipolar disease, schizophrenia, and serious depression and anxiety is attributable to early nicotine addiction in susceptible individuals.
As with all e-cigarettes, JUUL relies on flavors to hook kids, and JUUL comes in eight varieties. What starts off as just a quick hit off a friends device, soon becomes a habit. JUUL has become such a high school phenomenon that bathrooms are often designated as the “JUUL rooms”, and they’ve become the bane of teachers and school resource officers.
The FDA talks tough with JUUL but in actuality has done nothing to actually crack down on this totally unregulated product.
What is a JUUL device?
3” long with an LED light that comes on with an inhalation.
Two electrodes attach the battery magnetically to the USB port plug.
The yellow liquid is nicotine – equivalent to 30 cigarettes. That end inserts in the battery.
JUUL is the perfect size…
for a teen to use stealthily in math class!
But why would kids even pick up a JUUL?
It’s the flavors: crème brûllée, mango, cool mint, fruit medley, cool cucumber, menthol.
Most kids start off unaware of the nicotine, unaware of anything but the flavor, the tingle and the little “buzz” they get. Until it’s too late.