JUUL: It’s time to face some consequences

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Kat O’Connor
CONTRIBUTOR

An image of a person surrounded by smoke
More and more deaths are linked to vaping, it’s time to look at the dominating e-cigarette company, JUUL. Graphic by Mars Nevada/the Gateway

Too many times I’ve witnessed high school bathrooms filling with smoke after someone hits a JUUL between passing periods. That began two and a half years ago in 2017, when JUUL became the most popular e-cigarette.

JUUL has since become a leading contributor to the teen vaping spike. With a design often compared to a flash drive, it easy to conceal in jean pockets or shove up sleeves – a beneficial feature, especially for people under 18 who legally aren’t able to purchase vape.

Currently, the Center of Disease Control and other health authorities announced that there have now been 26 deaths related to e-cigarettes and vaping, as well as approximately 1,299 associated cases of vaping related lung injuries. Symptoms include coughing, fever, trouble breathing, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea and general fatigue.

According to the CDC, a majority of patients range from 18 to 34 years old and 75% are male. At an emergency hearing on Sept. 24, the CDC also told a Congressional Panel that there are more cases each day.

It was only after these cases occurred that some action was taken to prevent health risks related to vaping. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to JUUL regarding their advertising being directed to youth at school.

“A warning letter was issued JUUL Labs Inc. for marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school,” stated the FDA announcement.

A warning—26 deaths and 1,299 associated cases, and they only receive a warning.

“The letter to the company expressing concern, and requesting more information about several issues raised in a recent Congressional hearing regarding JUUL’s outreach and marketing practices, including those targeted at students, tribes, health insurers and employers,” the FDA stated.

It’s hard to crack down on this company when the FDA still is unaware as to what in the e-cigarette causes lung disease.

Studies have shown that the damage is caused even without nicotine, meaning the liquid can be harmful. The nicotine is also delivered in higher doses in JUUL compared to other e-cigarettes. One JUUL pod is said to contain 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. One pod, one pack.

If the concentration of nicotine and the liquid in which the nicotine is disbursed is considered dangerous, as well as the other unknown dangers, then why hasn’t JUUL been taken off the market? The answer: JUUL owns about 68% of the $2 billion dollar e-cigarette market. The company’s primary focus is making money, and we are two years into a massive teen vaping spike, giving teens two years to become addicted. Whether it hurts teens or not, the sales keep coming in.

The company has seen little consequence besides the Chief Executive of JUUL stepping down last week after it was announced that JUUL will pull all advertisements in the United States, where the deaths have occurred.

With such a heavy influence on today’s youth population, it’s no wonder that vaping has become a regular part of a majority of people’s routine. People continue to fuel this industry and fund their own deaths. Is something that is “all the rage” really worth dying for?

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