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Eric T. Chaffin
| Chaffin Luhana LLP

JUUL E-Cigarette KitParents and teachers are becoming increasingly concerned with the growing popularity of the JUUL e-cigarette. A USB-shaped vaping device, the product employs a central heating unit to create a nicotine-laced vapor that users then inhale.

Because it’s small and discreet, and because it delivers a higher level of nicotine than comparable products, the JUUL has gained in popularity over the past year, particularly among teens.

Though often advertised as “safer” than regular cigarettes, JUUL e-cigarettes still expose teens to dangerous levels of nicotine. The drug has been found to negatively affect brain development and maturity, and to alter brain function in such a way as to make users more likely to fall victim to substance abuse in the future.

JUUL E-Cigarette Gaining Popularity Among Young People

The JUUL e-cigarette, manufactured originally by Pax Labs and now moving to independent manufacture by JUUL labs, was released on the market in 2015. Within just two years, it grabbed about a third of the e-cigarette market. The company states on its website that its mission is to “improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers,” but its advertising campaign along with its design is attracting more teens to smoking.

First, the company uses attractive nicotine-solution flavorings like “Fruit Medley” and “Crème Brulee,” which makes these e-cigarettes more appealing to teens.

Second, the device is small enough to remain undetected by parents and teachers.

Third, because the product contains no tobacco, it is practically odorless, and is so discreet that some students brag about being able to use it while they’re in class.

JUUL Flavors

These factors together have created rising concern among adults, as more and more teens are “JUULing,” as they call it, with their friends.

JUUL E-cigarettes Present a Number of Health Hazards

Though advertised as a “smoking alternative,” with the implication being that vaping is safer than smoking, the JUUL e-cigarette presents a number of alleged health hazards to teens. First, it can encourage a nicotine addiction, and that’s particularly dangerous in young people. Studies have indicated that during adolescence, the brain is still developing and maturing, and the use of nicotine slows and alters that development, creating lasting effects on cognitive function.

Second, JUULing at a young age can increase the risk that teens will go on to smoke regular cigarettes in the future. In one study, those who used e-cigarettes were 7 times more likely to smoke cigarettes later on.

Third, JUUL cigarette nicotine solutions contain other chemicals, including propylene glycol, glycerol, and flavorings, that when heated and blended, can create potentially dangerous byproducts. In a 2015 study, for instance, researchers found that during the vaping process, these chemicals interacted to produce known formaldehyde-releasing agents. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

Public Health Groups Sue FDA Demanding Regulations on E-Cigarettes

On August 8, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that electronic nicotine device systems (e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco products) were subject to regulatory controls under the Tobacco Control Act. This gave them the authority to regulate e-cigarettes along with regular cigarettes and tobacco products.

It also required e-cigarette makers to submit approval applications to the FDA for all their products, subjecting them to FDA scrutiny. These applications were supposed to have been submitted by August 2018, but the FDA recently extended that deadline to 2022.

In response to this delay, which allows manufacturers to continue selling their e-cigarette products as they are, seven major public health groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, filed a lawsuit against the FDA, arguing that the delay is unlawful and puts teen health at risk.

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