The Juul, a type of e-cigarette, has become incredibly popular among teens or young adults. The common misconception about the Juul is that it is safer than smoking. While it does not contain the same chemicals as a cigarette, it does contain nicotine, an extremely addictive substance.
A Juul pod, containing e-liquid, has just as much nicotine as twenty cigarettes, or one pack. When in a social setting it is very likely that teens will go through more than one pod, consuming more nicotine than in one pack of cigarettes.
The Juul has become so popular amongst young people because of how discreet it looks; it is shaped like a flash-drive and quite small, making it easy for teens to carry it in their pockets without it being seen. Juuling has become common in social settings, but also in a regular classroom at school. The legal age to buy a Juul is 21, but it is very easy for teens to get their hands on one through Ebay and other websites.
Juuls also contain more nicotine than other e-cigarettes, making them even more dangerous. While the Juul can be good for people who are trying to break their habits of smoking, it can be a gateway into smoking cigarettes for people that have never smoked before.
A study conducted by the University of Waterloo in 2017 discovered that non-smoking adults were four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes after only 18 months of vaping, or in other words, “juuling.”
So what makes juuling so bad for a teen’s health? The pod is 5% nicotine by volume. Nicotine can reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area is highly important for a person’s cognitive behavior and decision making. The addiction to nicotine can also lead to greater sensitivity to other drugs.
Juul is different than other e-cigarette companies in that Juul uses “nicotine salts” that are more like the natural structure of nicotine found in tobacco leaves; other brands use “freebase nicotine”, which is chemically modified, making them less like the nicotine found in tobacco leaves.
Juul pods also contain a greater amount of benzoic acid (44.8 mg/mL) than other e-cigarette brands (0.2 to 2 mg/mL). Benzoic acid has side effects such as: coughing, sore throat, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given the power to regulate e-cigarettes like Juul. They decided to allow e-cigarette manufacturers to postpone their applications for FDA approval until August 2022.
Juul Labs is now facing lawsuits in several states because of the concern that they marketed their products to underage kids by producing flavors like cool mint, mango, cucumber, fruit, and creme. If the FDA does not stop the Labs fast enough, more and more kids will fall into the e-cigarette trap and become addicted to smoking too.