Juul’s popularity with teens draws FDA scrutiny

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Juul’s popularity with teens draws FDA scrutiny

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At the start of September 2015, a new alternative to smoking was introduced that is as mysterious as it is popular among the adolescent demographic: the Juul.

What exactly is a Juul? A Juul is a flash drive-esque e-cigarette that uses a pod full of a liquid called E-juice that is then heated, turning the E-juice into a vapor that can then be inhaled by the user.

Unlike traditional cigarettes, the Juul itself does not require the use of a lighter in order to heat it. Additionally, the Juul does not contain tobacco and some of the harmful effects that come with burning it.

These differences have led some to believe the Juul is a safe alternative to smoking, but public health officials claim Juuls can be dangerous and addictive.

One concern is that Juuls still contain nicotine, which is proven to be highly addictive. The unique source of nicotine in Juuls means that it can be a much larger dose than in traditional cigarettes.

This unique source of nicotine is a salt based mixture, which allows for higher concentrations of nicotine to be sent into the user’s system in the form of a crackling sensation in their throats.

Other e-cigarettes typically use a freebase nicotine, but Juuls use salt-based nicotine because it can deliver a more potent concentration of nicotine, and it doesn’t compete with the flavors that are being mixed with the nicotine liquid used in vapes.

Despite what some may think, Juuls, while being an alternative to cigarettes, are not safe according to a number studies done this past year.

These studies prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to report that e-cigarettes, like Juuls, contain other harmful ingredients besides nicotine and make young users more likely to smoke in the future.

Other studies show the Juuls popularity with teenagers. Monitoring the Future, a study done by the University of Michigan, showed that 1 in 3 high school seniors used a vape or e-cigarette in the last year, and 1 in 6 in the last month.

In response to the vast popularity that vapes and Juuls have acquired, the Food and Drugs Association announced a public hearing will be held Dec. 5 to discuss the banning of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems for people under the age of 18.

Shortly after the FDA announced the public hearing, Juul Labs, a major e-cigarette manufacturer, temporarily recalled many of its most popular flavors including mango, fruit, cream, and cucumber.

Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns released a statement within the announcement that said “We want to be the off-ramp for adult smokers to switch from cigarettes, not an on-ramp for America’s youth to initiate nicotine.”