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JUUL CEO Apologizes to Parents for Teen Epidemic

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by J.Adderton J.Adderton, MSN (Member) Writer Innovator Expert

J.Adderton has 20 years experience as a MSN .

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Teen America’s E-Cigarette Addiction

JUUL sales make up more than 70 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market, fueling a teen vaping epidemic. This article will explore the factors driving e-cigarette popularity among youth, harmful effects and what is being done to tackle the problem.

JUUL CEO Apologizes to Parents for Teen Epidemic

JUUL Labs CEO, Kevin Burns, issued an apology to parents of teens who are addicted to the company’s vaping products.  The apology was made while touring the JUUL plant with CNBC as part of a documentary aired on July 15, 2019, “Vaporized: America’s E-Cigarette Addiction”.  Burns was asked how he would defend his company’s product to the parent of a child addicted to vaping. Burns responded, “I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them.”

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco among U.S. youths.  In 2018, 3.6 million junior high and high school students used e-cigarettes.  During the same year, use among high school students increased by an alarming 78%.

What Are E-Cigarettes?

JUUL is a battery operated electronic cigarette that produces vaporized nicotine, or flavored non-nicotine solutions.  A user inhales the vapor and then exhales providing the sensation of smoking cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, are marketed as a way to cut down or make it easier to stop smoking.

JUUL and the Youth Appeal

JUUL, launched in 2015, is the most popular e-cigarette, making up more than 70 percent of the U.S.market.  The popularity among teens is related to several factors, including:

  • Easy to hide and use in school
    • Looks like a USB flash drive
    • Small enough to fit in a closed hand 
    • Can charge in a computer USB port
  • Flavors that appeal to youth (i.e. mango, creme, mint, fruit)
  • Higher doses of nicotine than other e-cigarettes

According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack, or 20, cigarettes.  A study from Truth Initiation found that 63 percent of 15-24 year old JUUL users did not know the product always contains nicotine.

Sleek Advertising

In November 2018, JUUL suspended its official social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram to address the widespread use by minors.  However, the CDC reports about 69% of middle and high school students have been exposed to e-cigarette marketing. In fact, advertising comes from  multiple sources; the internet, stores, magazines, TV and movies.. Exposure to e-cigarette advertisement has played a part in the increased use in youth, even though adults are the intended audience.

Not "Just Vaping"

Youth are often unaware of the potentially harmful substances contained in e-cigarette vapors.  The dangers are further hidden since some e-cigarettes marketed as containing no nicotine have actually been found to contain nicotine.  Other potentially harmful substances emitted in the vapor include:

  • Fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Diacetyl, a flavoring chemical linked to serious lung disease
  • Cancer causing chemicals
  • Heavy metals- tin, nickel and lead

Users may also be unaware of other vaping dangers. Youth who use e-cigarettes are at higher risk for smoking cigarettes in the future.  Also, the long-term health effects on users and those exposed through second hand vapor is still not known.

Nicotine and the Young Brain

Adolescence is a critical time for brain development, which continues until about age 25.  Nicotine interferes with normal brain development and young users are at a greater risk for harmful effects when compared to adults.  This risks include:

  • Quickly become nicotine addicted
  • Develop psychiatric disorders later in life
  • Experience poor impulse control
  • Develop other addictions in life
  • Have altered  memory, attention and learning abilities

Easily Accessible

The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 14.8 percent of underage middle and high school e-cigarette users got them from a vape shop, 8.4 percent from a gas station or convenience store and 6.5 percent from the internet.  A 2018 survey of JUUL users, age 12-17, found that 50 percent were provided the device through a social source.

Taking Action

The FDA has taken steps to address the rising use of e-cigarettes among U.S. youth.  Plans are in place to expand youth education efforts, such as “The Real Cost” campaign. The FDA is also planning to launch a TV advertisement on the dangers of e-cigarettes at the end of July, 2019.  Read the FDA’s July 15, 2019 press release detailing the agency’s actions toward tackling the vaping epidemic here.

What are your thoughts on the lure of e-cigarettes to today's youth? 

Additional Resources:

FDA “Real Cost” E-Cigarette Youth Epidemic Campaign Materials

CDC- Keep Kids E-Cigarette Free

Juul E-Cigarettes: Fueling A Youth Epidemic

Hello! I have been a nurse for over 20 years and have enjoyed working in a variety of settings and roles. I enjoy writing about what I encounter in my own nursing practice and sometimes, my own personal experiences.

7 Followers; 69 Articles; 28,680 Profile Views; 296 Posts

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8 Posts; 48 Profile Views

well luckily adults dont like mint and fruit flavors - grrr. maybe youth are targets - good thing they have parents so the rest of us can enjoy LEGAL adult activities.

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no.intervention.required has 5 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in SCRN.

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Yes, they do. Adults vape just as much. 

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7 hours ago, no.intervention.required said:

Yes, they do. Adults vape just as much. 

And it’s much safer than combustible cigarettes which cause “second hand smoke,” but with the all the regulation on “where” you can use them- which should have been a “plus.”

I have decided just to go back to regular smoking tobacco.  I mean, if there is no gain to switching to “Vaping,”...

I’d rather just continue supporting hard working Carolina and Virginia Farmers.

If the public has such an issue with a Heating Steam with Nicotine Replacement that gives the satisfaction of smoking without the second-hand effects, heck, I’ll have the “real thing.”

Their Loss...

 

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GrumpyRN has 35 years experience and specializes in Emergency Department.

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7 hours ago, VykingboyRN said:

I have decided just to go back to regular smoking tobacco.  I mean, if there is no gain to switching to “Vaping,”...

I’d rather just continue supporting hard working Carolina and Virginia Farmers.

If the public has such an issue with a Heating Steam with Nicotine Replacement that gives the satisfaction of smoking without the second-hand effects, heck, I’ll have the “real thing.”

Their Loss...

 

I'm hoping this is satire.

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no.intervention.required has 5 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in SCRN.

166 Posts; 4,466 Profile Views

Much safer doesn't mean safe.

 

It is an epidemic with teens, I don't see it getting better any time soon. Educate,educate, educate.

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Empty apology. They knew what they were doing.

Also, where are the parents and why are they not raising their children to not smoke? But I digress, I've seen parents buy this crap for their children. SMH
 

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@GRUMPY RN Yes Sir, Total Satire as a vaping RN turned Engineer who doesn’t want to pay $250 for a Hotel Smoking Fee,...

But, who does really miss the taste and satisfaction of a “real” cigarette that would honestly be happy to give them my “wheelchair” years for quick stroke or massive Heart Attack, Lol.

You have no worries Sir, My wife stays on my back end hard and scary enough to make the thoughts of even “sneaking,” a cigarette after my non-smoking years on the level of infidelity...

but I will honestly say, I feel like applying the same bans as Tobacco Smoking- on Vaping, a War on a lesser evil.

That said, No fees since Vaping in Hotels and Airports/Airlines, so a mute point until I get caught🙄...

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