An electronic-cigarette called the Juul, that delivers a powerful nicotine that equals the amount in a pack of cigarettes, may be one of the toughest trends in the world.
Adult customers say they find the high nicotine content as satisfying as conventional cigarettes, but the device also has a growing number of teen fans, whose developing brains are uniquely vulnerable to addiction.
The Juul’s surging popularity among high schoolers has led public-health advocates and researchers to issue alarming warnings. Young people who vape may be as many as seven times more likely to smoke regular cigarettes than teens who never try an e-cig, according to several peer-reviewed studies.
Ana Rule, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and an author of a study on e-cigs and teens, reports that the makers of new e-cigarette devices “fail to address the increased risk to this huge market they are creating among teenagers and young adults that never have smoked, and would have never even considered smoking.”
Juul says its device was designed to help adult smokers transition to a healthier but equally satisfying product and claims that its advertising materials never targeted teens. Juul told the New York Times that the company now requires models in its social marketing campaigns to be over age 35.
Instagram and YouTube are full of videos of teens vaping, or “Juuling,” in class and in front of teachers. A string of high schools along the East Coast has cited “Juuling” . Dozens of teachers have reported confiscating Juul devices disguised as Sharpies and other classroom items.