In recent decades, smoking cigarettes has become less popular than alternatives like electronic cigarettes, which have increased their presence in the tobacco products market. Composed of a mouthpiece, e-liquid tank, microprocessor, heating element, and battery, e-cigarettes first arrived to the United States in 2007. Brushed off by many as a gimmick or fad, they began to gain a big following through the “modding” scene where owners could modify their e-cigarettes anywhere from adding lithium-ion batteries to different shaped enclosures. Following this rise, there are now even annual competitions where participants blow out the best vape cloud—which is produced when e-cigarettes converts the liquid nicotine into vapor.
Possibly an unforeseen consequence from marketing a product that so closely resembles a USB drive is that students can easily stash it away while in school. JUUL has also become very attractive to the younger generation because its prominence on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. They offer flavor pods ranging from mango to crème brûlée and cool cucumber. High schools and universities have taken notice of the trend and are beginning to wonder about the future trajectory of e-cigarettes like JUUL. The company has fallen under the scrutiny of health organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These organiations have started to wonder about the health concerns of such products, especially with the increasing usage among teens.
With the health effects of vaping still not fully understood, the rise of e-cigarette companies that appeal to the youth, like JUUL, could have unwarranted consequences on a new generation. Gottlieb also declared, “we cannot allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine.” This seems to be the driving factor for the FDA’s direct response to e-cigarette use among minors.
Just last week the FDA revealed that it will be launching an anti-vaping ad campaign that will focus on teens. The ads will be delivered to teens through YouTube ads, social media ads, and even in school bathrooms and will highlight the negative effects of the toxins in e-cigarettes. Although there is still a need for more research on the effects of e-cigarettes, it is clear that the health implications of JUULing for teenagers is high priority to the FDA and we can expect continued dialogue on this topic.
1: Ramamurthi, D., Chau, C., & Jackler, R. K. (2018). JUUL and other stealth vaporisers: Hiding the habit from parents and teachers. Tobacco Control. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054455