What it is:
Joining the list of e-cigarettes, which include “e-cigs”, “e-hookahs”, “mods”, “vape pens”, “vapes”, and “tank systems”, comes another trend known as JUUL. JUUL also known as “Juuling” is a e-cigarette that has gained a high level of popularity amongst young adults, ages 18-25, in recent years. While it is a type of e-cigarette, it does not look like a typical one, which makes it harder to identify. With a small and sleek appearance, companies have made this device look like a USB flash drive. This battery-operated device can be slipped into your jean pocket, jacket, or fist, and can be plugged into a computer USB slot for recharge.
So how does this USB look alike device work? JUUL devices are battery operated and work by heating a pod of e-liquid or “juice” containing nicotine, fruity flavors, and other chemicals. Once the “juice” is heated, the liquid becomes an inhalable aerosol. According to the CDC, young people report using e-cigarettes for curiosity, taste, and belief that they are less harmful than other tobacco products. 9 out of every 10 young adult e-cigarette users say they use flavors because it tastes like menthol, alcohol, candy, fruit, chocolate, and other sweets. However, nicotine vapor still smells like tobacco.
How it affects health:
JUUL has a higher nicotine content than many other e-cigarettes. According to the CDC, the exposure of nicotine through e-cigarettes can quickly cause addiction and harm to brain development. The amount of nicotine in one JUUL cartridge is roughly equal to the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs.
CDC Fact Sheet: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/getthefacts.html
Q: How do e-cigarettes harm brain development?
- The brain is the last organ in the human body to develop fully. Brain development continues to about the early to mid-20s.
- E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine. Nicotine disrupts the development of brain circuits that control attention and learning, so students who use e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are at risk for deficits in these areas.
- 18-25 is a critical period for brain development. Young people who use e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine. In addition to learning and cognitive deficits, and susceptibility to addiction, these risks include mood disorders and permanent lowering of impulse control.
- The nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can also affect the development of the brain’s reward system, priming the young brain for addiction to other drugs.
Juuling is very common in schools and college campuses. It is a form of social interaction seen happening in classrooms, hallways, and school restrooms. Packaged in a box and labeled “JUUL Device USB Charger” students who are too young to buy it legally can obtain it through classmates, thus increasing health risks at a very young age. Additionally, carrying JUUL in a back pocket or jacket becomes an easier way to escape notice, thus allowing students to take in more nicotine over the course of the day.
Parent Tip Sheet:
CDC Fact Sheet: E-cigarettes:
YouTube Video: Mayo Clinic -Breaking down realities of e-cigarettes and Juuling.