2. Educate Them. And Yourself.
We believe in a three-pronged approach regarding JUUL education. The first is explaining how products such as JUUL cause addiction. First of all, many users have no idea that there is nicotine in JUUL and believe they are inhaling flavored vapors. That is the first stigma we must get rid of. One JUUL pod contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. JUUL also contains more nicotine than other e-cigarettes and the company claims their product delivers nicotine up to 2.7 times faster than other e-cigarette alternatives. Every time your child takes a puff of their JUUL, dopamine is released in their brain. A dopamine release teaches the brain to repeat the same behavior until it is learned and automatic. After a few weeks of use, teenagers need a JUUL hit to feel normal. Nicotine also has detrimental effect on the development of the teenage brain. The prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, impulses, and decision making is extremely vulnerable to nicotine. This effects young people more as their prefrontal cortex does not fully develop until age 25.
Other than nicotine addiction, there are a multitude of health hazards that stem from JUUL use. There is a long list of side effects, including seizures, irregular heartbeat, peptic ulcers, dental issues, shortness of breath, increased risk of heart disease, blood clots, and lung spasms. There have also been instances of JUUL related deaths (link to Wakefield and Jenkins once filed).
One of the most common side effects is lung damage and lung disease. Studies on vaping showed JUULing or vaping produced seven times the supression in the lung of the immune system, a result that can lead to serious infection, pneumonia, and death. One serious possible outcome from the chemical diacetyl found in some vape e-juice is popcorn lung. The medical term for popcorn lung is bronchiolitis obliterans, which results from exposure to diacetyl that cause inflammation and obstruction of the bronchioles, the smallest passage in the lungs. Vape lung results in symptoms such as wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, chronic exhaustion, and scarring to the lungs. The ingredients that compose the proprietary e-liquid consist of glycerin, propylene glycol, and a mixture of nicotine, benzoic acid, and flavor additives. Although chemicals such as glycerin and propylene glycol are deemed safe by the FDA it does not mean they are safe to inhale. For context, everyone knows water is safe to drink but it is unsafe to inhale.
JUUL’s ties to big tobacco need to be emphasized as well. To teenagers, people who smoke cigarettes are uncool and embarrassing. They reek of tobacco and it is common knowledge that cigarette smokers risk diseases such as emphysema, lung disease, and mouth cancer. Cigarette smoking is synonymous with an early death. As we all know, teens view vaping as completely different to cigarette smoking. What young adults do not know is JUUL accepted a 12.8 billion cash investment from Altria, one of the largest cigarette makers for a 35% stake. Altria is the maker and manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes. Altria’s former chief growth office, K.C. Crosthwaite become JUUL’s CEO in September 2019 and several other Altria’s employees started working at JUUL at the same time, including Altria’s former head of regulatory affairs, senior scientists, and sales managers.