What exactly is the JUUL? Meet the sleek, trendy, USB-shaped e-cigarette that everyone is talking about.
The JUUL has blown up on the internet, inspiring mega-viral memes and jokes on Twitter and Instagram.
But teens — still below the legal age to purchase or use e-cigarettes — are also bragging about "JUULing" on social media, sparking concern about e-cigarette use among young people.
The JUUL is a portable "nicotine-delivery device" designed to mimic the physical and sensory experience of a cigarette, without looking like one.
The e-liquid cartridges, or "JUUL pods," come in a variety of flavors like "cool mint" and "fruit medley," and each pod contains about as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.
JUUL is marketed as an alternative for adults who smoke tobacco cigarettes.
However, everything that makes the JUUL attractive for adult smokers — the appearance, yummy flavors, and discreet design — also makes it a hit with teens.
Yes, the JUUL is safer than regular cigarettes, but no e-cigarette is considered "safe" — and it's never just vapor that you're inhaling.
And nicotine is highly addictive, so if you don't already smoke you should not start using the JUUL or any other e-cigarette.
"We don't know the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes yet, but we do know that nicotine can affect brain development — especially in kids," Farber says.
So there you have it: While e-cigarettes might help adults quit smoking, they can also hook young nonsmokers on nicotine.
Parents should talk to their kids about tobacco, e-cigarettes, and the harms of nicotine addiction as early as possible.
"Kids need to understand how addictive nicotine is and that it can affect their health, and performance in school and sports, and lead to worse addictions in the future," Farber says. Experts also encourage parents to have open conversations with their child and their pediatrician about e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. "It's about teaching kids at an early age and getting them to commit to staying nicotine-free — because the earlier you start using nicotine, the harder it is to stop," Farber says.
"JUUL as a company is taking the use among teens very seriously and working hard to enforce age restrictions and implement youth prevention programs," Gould says.
If you are ever concerned about e-cigarettes and your health, always consult a health care professional.
JUUL is marketed as an alternative for adults who smoke tobacco cigarettes, not adults who are trying to quit smoking. And the company is in the process of submitting applications to the FDA. An earlier version misstated the submission process.
Caroline Kee is a health writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Caroline Kee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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