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YOUTH EPIDEMIC: Is Juuling a problem?

YOUTH EPIDEMIC: Is Juuling a problem?

Mimi Gaudiano

Mimi Gaudiano

YOUTH EPIDEMIC: Is Juuling a problem?

Jaylin Sullivan, Staff Writer

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In the past couple of years, a growing problem has spread across the US: E-cigarettes being sold to underage teenagers. Recently, the FDA has become aware of this issue and is going into action to shut down the “epidemic,” as FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb calls it. The Juul has become very popular among teenagers and is getting into underage hands. Sheila Kaplan and Jan Hoffman in their article on CNN say, “In briefing with the reporters, the FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said that more than two million middle and high school students were regular users of e-cigarettes last year.”  The FDA has given an ultimatum to all E-cig companies including Juul, in which they need to submit a plan in 60 days on how they are going to try and stop their product from getting into teenager’s hands.

According to NY Times, “The FDA sent warning letters to at least 1,100 retailers.  The FDA also issued about 131 fines ranging from $279-$11,182 for selling E-cigs to minors.” “I think this is going to be the health problem of the decade,” said Milagros Vascones-Gatski in the article, a substance abuse counselor at Yorktown High school in Arlington, VA.” In the past 17 years that she has worked with teenagers, she claims she has never seen a tobacco product become so popular so quickly. Three to four students are caught smoking E-cigs on campus every week. Sophomore Isaac Askilsrud says, “I’ve seen people in the bathroom selling them. They are easy to obtain, I could walk into the bathroom on the third floor and ask for one.” Concerned educators and health experts consider “juuling” more than just a youthful rebellion. Because e-cigs are high in nicotine, they fear the devices are extremely addictive to the vulnerable younger population.

Only one Juul “pod,” the nicotine cartridge inserted into the smoking device,  delivers close to 200 puffs, almost as much as the nicotine in a pack of cigarettes. Juul uses a nicotine salt-based cartridge. According to the Juul site, Juuls provide “cigarette-like strength nicotine levels via JUULsalts, our proprietary nicotine salts formula, in order to meet the satisfaction standards of cigarette smokers.” Juul, Vuse, Logic, Blu, and Markten control 97 percent of the e-cigarette market. Junior Yennie Jun says, “I know that it doesn’t have the tar that’s in cigs, but since it is not regulated there can be a lot of unknown toxins in them.” But the Juul is still popular among teenagers. “I think people see it as better than smoking. Like a cool fad, and it’s seen as better than smoking cigarettes,” Jun comments. An analysis of retail sales data, which was published in JAMA, found that Juul’s sales increased from 2.2 million devices sold in 2016 to 16.2 million in 2017. The FDA says, “The new and highly disturbing data we have on youth use demonstrates plainly that e-cigarettes are creating an epidemic of regular nicotine use among teens. It is vital that we take action to understand and address the particular appeal of, and ease of access to, these products among kids.”

The FDA has talked about how companies should keep a better watchful eye on their product. “If young adults go online and buy 100 units of a product to sell to teens, that activity ought to be easy for a product manufacturer to identify,” says Gottlieb according to CNN’s article. Juul prices range from $35 to $50 and just the pods are $16 for a pack of four according to the official Juul website. The FDA had attempted to try to ease regulations on the e-cigarette industry last year as a way to encourage adults to quit smoking. But critics of the agency had said that it was only helping kids access more products like Juul. The Juul company has made a response in return to the backlash: “By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors, we will continue to engage with the FDA to fulfill our mission.” In July 2017, the FDA claimed they were considering lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes. They are also considering banning flavored e-cigs altogether to seem less appealing to younger generations.

Juul has changed their website and has promoted a new plan called “Youth Education Awareness and Prevention.” According to their website, Juul has an initial investment of $30 million over the next three years specifically dedicated to independent research, youth and parent education, and community engagement. They have updated their security online to be certain that if you are not of age, then you cannot purchase any merchandise off of their website. They have also responded to educators and have given them information about nicotine products to ensure those working with youth are aware of the nicotine content. They additionally have updated their employers on the new regulations and evaluate hundreds of stores each month to ensure the security of their product and who it is being sold to. Thus, Juul has submitted their plan on how to change the Juul product from reaching minor’s hands. Hopefully, other manufacturers follow suit before their 60 days are up or their product could potentially be banned from the market for good.

UPDATE:  New requirements for Juuls/e-cigs has been released.  According to The New York Times, when ordering Juuls online, you must show photo I.D. and the FDA is banning the sale of most flavored e-cigs at retail outlets. A senior agency official said the details to the plan will be released next week.

Jaylin Sullivan, Staff Writer

Class of 2019. I think that there’s so many books in the world that maybe if we stopped writing, we’d read them. Ready to graduate. Disaster Master.

Mimi Gaudiano, Illustrator

Class of 2019. Long time artist, first time journalistic illustrator. Grade ‘A’ Disaster Gay. Owner of a wandering mind (if found please return to...

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