E-cigarettes have been hitting the news — and not for reasons that they’re fond about. In recent weeks, multiple people have died from vaping-related illness, making the claims that e-cigarettes are more healthy than cigarettes suspect.
But that’s not as worrying as the fact that e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular with teens. Juul has failed to present documents that show that it has been trying to discourage teen vaping, and may eventually need to answer to a subpoena.
Is this budding industry already on its way out?
7th Person Dead from Vaping-Related Illness
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into vaping-related illness, with at least 380 cases in the United States. That isn’t a lot, but the fear is that this might be emergent. If vaping only causes long-term, significant damage after 10 years, and vaping became popular 10 years ago, it would be expected to see a sudden and sharp increase in illness.
Cigarettes were not all that dissimilar. It’s not always immediately obvious that something isn’t healthy without long-term study, and a long-term study hasn’t been done on products such as Juul because they are fairly recent products. Vaping, and the act of regularly inhaling moisture directly into the lungs, is something that hasn’t been directly studied. When vaping, people often take in vapor regularly throughout the day, at rates that aren’t as high as traditional smoking or things like hash smoking.
It’s not clear whether the primary issue is the act of vaping itself, the liquid that’s used for vaping, or potential contaminants in the vaping liquid. What is known is that more people are vaping than ever before, and that many of these are teens.
Juul and the Teen Vaping Crisis
30% of 12th graders now report vaping at least once a year. Vaping is extremely attractive to children and teens, because it comes in an incredible array of flavors. Aesthetically, it fits right in with other tech gadgets. Vapes are easier to hide and use than cigarettes, and they still carry quite the nicotine punch. A single Juul cartridge can contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes at a much smaller footprint.
Juul is credited with making teen vaping so popular, because it makes it so easy, and becomes it comes in such a large assortment of flavors. But vaping may not be as safe as it seems, it may just not be as well-explored. There are still some concerns regarding inhaling flavorings and oils, especially long-term. And there are bootleg cartridges available that are cheaper and more dangerous.
Judge Threatens Juul with Subpoena
Juul has been ordered to disclose documents regarding its teen-based programs, including discouraging teens from vaping. But Juul has failed to furnish these documents, and has now been issued with a subpoena.
Theoretically, teens shouldn’t be a part of Juul’s market, but the product does appear tailored to teens. Most e-cigarettes are marketed as a method of quitting smoking, and that’s why they include nicotine.
But so many people have ended up stuck on Juul that some are even trying to switch back to cigarettes in order to quit. Juul and other e-cigarettes make it easier to consume nicotine with the perception that it is healthy and safe, and has led to some people experiencing an increased nicotine addiction.
There are a lot of questions about vaping, and it may not be a trend that people want to jump into. Vaping is still unexplored territory for the most part, and even vaping that is healthy still stands the chance of hooking someone on nicotine. More and more, e-cigarettes are being treated as a new type of “cigarette,” and being looked at with some suspicion.
One way or another, Juul is going to have to furnish its documents regarding its marketing programs and strategies. If Juul is found to have been targeting teens for its products, there could be some serious consequences. Teens who are getting hooked on nicotine through Juul may have a long road ahead of them in terms of quitting, and may be driven towards products such as cigarettes.