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Addicting Kids

Juul: Big Tobacco’s best new weapon

Published Apr 11, 2022
Young girl smoking a vape

Tobacco doesn’t just mean cigarettes anymore – the number of new e-cigarettes and vaping products on the market is astonishing. Many of these new products are designed to entice new customers, including kids, with thousands of appealing flavors and technology that is easy to hide in plain sight and mask their true harm.

Juul vaping products are perfect examples of this deceitful tactic. It’s an e-cigarette that is easily mistaken for a USB flash drive or portable phone charger and can be discreetly charged on a laptop, making it extremely difficult for parents and teachers to spot. A Juul can even be decorated to look more harmless by adding a sticker decal to the outside that comes in fun, bright colors.

But don’t be fooled by its innocent look – a Juul is an addictive tobacco product with high nicotine levels. Its sleek look hides its potency – sized less than a square inch, the Juul pod, the part of a Juul filled with flavors and nicotine, packs a powerful punch and contains the same amount of nicotine levels as a pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs.1

What is concerning is that teens can go through a Juul pod in one day, but it’s unlikely that teens who use Juul are aware of how much nicotine they are ingesting.2 Health experts have become alarmed by Juul’s growing popularity among youth, driven by a combination of kid-friendly flavors, high nicotine levels, and a sophisticated design.1

The most popular e-cigarette available, Juul has reached cult status, spawning a number of social media names and hashtags, such as #di4j or #doit4juul.3 Juul’s popularity is a big reason why e-cigarettes are the most commonly used type of tobacco product among California high school students.4

This is disturbing for a variety of reasons. First, not only is nicotine highly addictive, but it’s a neurotoxin, which means it’s a poison that acts on the nervous system.5 Nicotine exposure can have lasting damaging effects on adolescent brain development, including cognition, attention, and mood.6 But nicotine isn’t the only problem – we’re now seeing evidence that chemicals used in e-cigarette “juice” can cause severe respiratory disease.7

Don’t let the innocent packaging or attractive flavors used by tobacco companies fool you into thinking they’re selling anything other than a dangerous, addictive product. To learn more about e-cigarettes, including Juul, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s fact sheet on the popularity and harm of e-cigarettes. For information about the vaping illness outbreak, visit CDC.gov.

  1. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. JUUL and Youth: rising E-Cigarette Popularity. tobaccofreekids.org. Published December 20, 2018. Accessed March 19, 2019.
  2. Willett JG, Bennett M, Hair EC, et al. Recognition, use and perceptions of JUUL among youth and young adults. Tob Control. 2019;28(1):15-116.
  3. Huang J, Duan Z, Kwok J, et al. Vaping versus JUULing: how the extraordinary growth and marketing of JUUL transformed the US retail e-cigarette market. Tob Control. 2018;28(2):146–151. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054382.
  4. California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Tobacco Facts and Figures 2018. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health; 2018.
  5. International Programme on Chemical Safety, World Health Organization. Nicotine. inchem.org. March, 1991. Accessed April 5, 2019.
  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General—Executive Summary. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
  7. Allen JG, Flanigan SS, LeBlanc M, et al. Flavoring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3 Pentanedione, and Acetoin in a Sample of 51 Products, Including Fruit-, Candy-, and Cocktail-Flavored E-Cigarettes. Environ Health Perspect. 2015;124(6):733-9.

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