Juul, a tiny device, hooks U.S. teenagers into vaping

by Marshall W. Writer
Tiny electronic cigarettes that look like a USB stick are making it hard for parents and educators to keep young people from going.

And those devices are producing a new generation of Americans addicted to cigarettes, experts warn.

"The way these products can be used without any detection by adults is very consistent with something that would appeal to a young person," said Erika Sward, vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association.

The best known of these devices is the Juul, an electronic cigarette much like a USB drive. In fact, it charges by plugging into a computer's USB port, which makes the illusion even greater, Sward noted.

The device produces steam in a variety of fruit and mental flavors, and is so well known that students have turned the word Juul into a verb, Sward added.

"They may not even call it vaping. They call it Juuling," Sward said. "As a result, some of the information being used for youth education about electronic cigarettes is not specific enough to address Juul.

Juul is so popular that many young people don't even realize it's an electronic cigarette full of nicotine, he said. All this has led to even coupons being offered to buy juul at a better price.

But Juul Labs, the San Francisco company that makes the device, says it's only for adults who want to quit smoking.

"We don't want young people to use our products," Ashley Gould, Juul's managing director, told The New York Times. "Our product is not only not for young people, but for people who do not use nicotine.

But Sean Christiansen, a high school student from Maryland, told the state senate in February that electronic cigarette makers are targeting his age group.

"If someone gets into social media, there are constantly videos and pictures of high school students doing'vapeo tricks,'" testified Christiansen, 14. "They are designed to increase the number of high school students who want to use nicotine and tobacco products, and many young people who were not interested in substances before high school have become smokers.

The legal age to buy tobacco in Maryland is 18. Christiansen testified that many 18-year-olds buy electronic cigarettes and resell them to younger students.

"I know there are freshmen who have bought Juuls from seniors, and who go to our middle school and sell cowboys to middle school students," Christiansen said.

This has led to surreptitious use of electronic cigarettes in schools, educators said.

"He's our demon," Nate Carpender, vice principal of Cape Elizabeth High School in Maine, told the Times. "It's the only risky thing you can do in life (with few consequences, they say) to show that you're a little rebellious.

In 2017, more than 1 in 4 high school seniors said they had gone through the previous year, and most apparently didn't know they were playing with a potentially addictive product, according to the federal government's most recent Monitoring the Future survey.

Sward and other tobacco control experts say Juul and similar companies target young people with their products.

The variety of flavors "are attractive to kids and teens," Sward said, and devices like Juul are sold in supermarkets and gas stations, "right where the tobacco companies that target young people go.

"It's deeply troubling, but Juul is just like all other electronic cigarette companies in that he has copied these tactics from the Big Tobacco manual," Sward said.

Gregory Conley, vice president of the American Vaping Association, said, "Juul Labs is being unfairly attacked with an avalanche of negative articles in the media that assume the company has bad intentions.

"While we support strong enforcement of youth access laws, we disagree with activists who believe that new restrictions, taxes and bans on adult products have ever solved a problem involving youth rebellion," Conley said.

Still, Sward said the legal age for tobacco products should be raised to 21, and the FDA should control some of the marketing tactics that directly appeal to young people.

Parents also need to learn some things about these camouflaged electronic cigarettes, Sward said.

Unfortunately, there is a learning curve for parents here, said Michael McAlister, principal of Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, Calif.

"If I had had a pack of cigarettes in my room when I was a kid, they would have found out," McAlister told the Times. "Now, the first thing we have to face is the fact that they don't know what a Juul is."

About Marshall W. Junior   Writer

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Joined APSense since, June 13th, 2018, From San Francisco, United States.

Created on Jun 15th 2018 04:59. Viewed 206 times.


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