UNITED STATES – According to information published online at tobaccofreekids.org, the e-cigarette maker JUUL is drawing the ire of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and anti-tobacco organizations for the ways in which the company has allegedly targeted youth. Organizations are seeking intervention from the government and community action to combat the rise in youth vaping.
JUUL came onto the market as a purported cessation device for cigarette smokers and an alternative to traditional cigarettes without the adverse health effects of tobacco. While the company strived to appear separated from the tobacco industry, Altria, the parent company of Marlboro, now owns a 35 percent share of JUUL to the tune of $12.8 billion.
JUUL’s e-cigarettes look vastly different than the products available before it, resembling a flash drive more than a vaping device. It is packaged as a system with a battery and flavored pods that come in options like mango and crème brûlée. With the arrival of JUUL and an onslaught of advertising, including a large social media presence, the use of e-cigarettes among teens and young adults started to rise
In just one year (2018), 78 percent more high school students in the United States were vaping, and more than 3.5 million students in high school and middle school had tried e-cigarettes by 2018. This represented an increase of 1.5 million students in one year. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA, said that there was no question the rise in youth vaping was related to JUUL.
JUUL pods reportedly carry as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes, which is about 20 cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General says that nicotine use is harmful to teens and young adults, leading to addiction and other health risks. Several pieces of legislation have been proposed to regulate e-cigarettes and combat youth addiction.
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