Over the last few years, e-cigarettes have grown in popularity—and so has their reputation for being a “better for you” option than actual cigarettes. Part of that is due to the fact that hardcore smokers do use them to cut down on their habit, and part of that is due to good marketing. After all, with e-cigs, you can vape anywhere without lighting up or reeking of nicotine afterward. But e-cigarettes, and especially Juul—one of the latest e-cigarette products—are likely responsible for more people getting hooked on nicotine.
What Is Juul?
Juul is an e-cigarette that came on the market in 2015, and the product itself is pretty similar to other e-cigarettes or vapes, says Jonathan Philip Winickoff, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a specialist in family health and smoking cessation at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It has the same ingredients: a liquid filled with nicotine, solvents, and flavorings.”
But the USB shape of the device is what makes it so popular with teens and adolescents, who make up the majority of Juul’s consumers, says Dr. Winickoff. The design makes it easy to conceal, and it literally plugs right into your computer to heat up and charge. This year Juul is already responsible for more than half of all e-cigarette retail market sales in the U.S., according to a recent Nielsen data report.
Is Juul Bad for You?
It’s hard to outdo the cigarette in terms of health risks, and yes, there are fewer toxic compounds found in Juul than in cigarettes, says Dr. Winickoff. But it’s still made with some very bad-for-you ingredients. “It’s not just harmless water vapor and flavor,” says Dr. Winickoff. “Not only is it made with N-Nitrosonornicotine, a dangerous Group I carcinogen (and the most carcinogenic substance we know of), you’re also inhaling Acrylonitrile, which is a highly poisonous compound used in plastics and adhesives and synthetic rubbers.” (Related: Coffee Warning? What You Need to Know About Acrylamide)
The nicotine in Juul is also specially engineered—with a proton group that attaches to it—to taste mild and be inhaled easily (likely another reason for its popularity with teens). And how much nicotine is in a Juul will blow your mind. “You can inhale a whole package worth of nicotine without even thinking twice,” says Dr. Winickoff. (Related: New Study Says E-Cigarettes May Increase Your Risk of Cancer.)
Two years ago, Juul not only was sold in a smoke shop/vape shop but they also just started selling into convenience stores/gas stations. When that happened, over the course of two years, Juul dominated the E-Cigarette market carrying close to 68% of the market share. Just their 5 flavors took the nation by storm. With that being said, underage vaping became so easily available as gas stations and convenience stores were not checking ID properly.
Over the summer, FDA sent agents across the US to check if these establishments were checking ID or not. 1500 gas stations and convenience stores got caught for underage sale of JUUL and other vape products. So now they gave JUUL the final warning, either you do something about this or shut down business. So, they decided to not only stop the production of Fruit, Creme Bruele, Mango Juul Pods, but also stop selling to Gas Stations and Convenience stores. Luckily for us, we check photo ID to everyone that looks under the age of 27 who are buying anything in our stores. Only 18+ is allowed in our store as well. And we are still available to sell them in our store.