THE HIGH TIDE

Juuling: Nicotine Use and America’s Youth

Ava Devine

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11 October 2018 — According to the Center for Disease Control website, cigarette smoking among people under eighteen has decreased drastically in the United States since 2011. In relation to high school students specifically, cigarette smoking has dropped as much as 15.8% between 2011 and 2017. It would seem that American teens are tuning in to the dangers that come with tobacco and nicotine use, and that they are making the smart decision to stay away from these harmful substances. However, looking at cigarette use alone does not accurately represent nicotine use among America’s youth.

The Purpose

Juuls, which are electronic cigarettes that resemble flash drives, have become more and more common in the United States since their release in 2015. Known for both their discrete appearance and convenient nature, Juuls have become the most common way to smoke nicotine among teenagers and young adults. Juuls were initially created with the intent of helping wean cigarette-addicted adults off of nicotine; however, in an interview with Ashley Gould, who is the chief administrator at Juul Labs, Time magazine revealed that there is not yet a known correlation between Juuling and ending nicotine abuse.

The Effect

While it’s illegal to purchase Juuls in the United States under the age of 18, it is no secret that these e-cigs have become popularized among underage kids. Senior at Fort Myers High School, Kelsey Brown, commented on the issue, stating, “I completely forgot that Juuls were originally made to help adults. I’ve become so used to seeing them used by kids my age that it doesn’t even seem like they could have a purpose other than smoking for a buzz.” This “buzz” that Kelsey refers to comes from the Juul’s more effective way of dispensing nicotine to its users. While the Juul doesn’t dispense more nicotine, it does dispense nicotine in a purer state because it utilizes aerosol to activate its ingredients rather than a flame.

The FDA’s Stance

In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to publicly address Juul use in relation to teenagers. The FDA sees Juul use as equally as harmful as cigarette use in young people, as it can lead to nicotine addictions later in life. In July, the FDA initiated new actions to help prevent underage teens from getting access to Juuls, going as far as contacting eBay and encouraging them to cease their selling of Juuls online, which eBay took swift action to implement. In addition to this, the FDA is targeting cigarette and e-cigarette companies that direct their advertisements specifically to an underage audience, and they are working on education plans to continue to discourage tobacco use in high school and middle school.

The Debate

Whether Juuling really is an issue for teens in America remains a controversial issue. Many people consider e-cigs a valid alternative to cigarette use, while others see them as an easier way for young people to develop nicotine addictions. In the past year, government agencies such as the FDA and the CDC have begun to take action against Juuling, especially in the context of underage use. Other organizations, such as Truth, which actively campaigns against teen nicotine and drug use, have found the use of Juuls to be a secondary issue when compared with opioid and hookah use by kids and young adults. While further restrictions are being made on Juul use in the United States, the fact remains that those who will have the greatest effect on reducing nicotine addiction in American youth are the young people themselves.

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The CDC

The FDA

Time

Truth

The Washington Post

 

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