JUUL Teen Use, Vaping Dangers and Statistics

Pre-teen and teens use of electronic cigarettes like JUUL increased substantially between 2018 and 2019.  According to vaping statistics on the CDC website, middle and high school students vaping use increased from 3.6 million in 2018 to 5.4 million in 2019.   JUUL is the primary brand of e-cigarettes used to vape and until recently marketed flavored vaping pods.   JUUL sales increased at the same time teen vaping increased.  The uptick of teen nicotine use by vaping occurred at a time when teen smoking and cigarette use had declined.

With the increase of JUUL teen use, the vaping health risks have also increased.  The CDC reports if teen use continues at this rate, 1 out of 13 kids will die early from a smoking-related illness.   27% of high school teens report vaping (or Juuling) and 10.5% of middle schoolers say they vaped at least once in the past 30 days.  Teenagers don’t understand the vaping dangers or vaping health risks.

Each month, the number of vaping illnesses has increased.  At the same time, vaping deaths are also increasing.  As of January 14, 2020, the CDC reported there have been 66 vaping deaths and 2,668 people have been hospitalized due to vaping illness, now known as EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping Associated with Lung Injury).   A Detroit teen needed a double lung transplant because his lungs were permanently damaged due to vaping.

Teen Vaping Deaths

A Dallas 15-year-old became the youngest teen death due to vaping in January 2020.  The Dallas County Health and Human services would not reveal what product the teen had been vaping.  “We are seeing that severe lung damage, and even death can occur with jut short-term use of these products,” said Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County health director.

A 17-year-old Bronx teenager died in October 2019.  At the time, Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters, “Parents have to know, young people have to know: You are playing with your life when you play with this stuff.” 

JUUL Teen Addiction

Many teens say they didn’t know vaping with Juul pods was addictive or that the Juul pods contained high levels of nicotine. Teens thought it was a safe alternative to smoking.  In fact, one Juul pod contains more nicotine than a pack of cigarettes.  The pods are designed to be highly addicted from the initial vape.

A November 2019 Reuters report states the company, Juul Labs Inc, knew early on that the teenagers were flocking to the flavored vaping pods despite saying its intended market was not teenagers but rather adults trying to stop smoking.  A former company official reported to Reuters that from the very beginning of sales, teens were calling Juul Labs asking where they could purchase more Juuls and where to buy the flavored Juul pods.   Internally, executives debated the issue with the CEO arguing to take actions to curb youth vaping sales while other executives said they could not be blamed for the rise in teen vaping or teen nicotine addiction since they didn’t intentionally sell to teens.

The manager spoke to Reuters anonymously and said the company knew how highly addictive Juul was. Teen vaping increased both the current and future bottom line as teens would likely become lifelong addicts.  It took three years and pressure from the government before Juul announced a “comprehensive” strategy to curb Juul teen use. A tobacco researcher even warned Juul executives about the potential wide-spread vaping among teens was a danger to the business.


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