How ‘Juuling’ could harm teens

Roughly 3.6 million American teens are now vaping—using electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) to inhale aerosols that contain nicotine, marijuana, or other drugs—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most popular brand of e-cigs is Juul, which looks like a USB flash drive and comes in fruity flavors that appeal to teens. In fact, the brand has become so popular that teens are using “Juuling” as a verb, according to a September 4, 2019 article in Good Housekeeping. Teens are also using Juuls to smoke pot, using cannabis-oil-filled pods compatible with Juul that are for sale online.

The article cited research on the potential health effects of using e-cigs such as Juul. Beyond nicotine, the liquid in e-cig pods contains ultrafine particles and heavy metals that can damage the lungs, experts said. Nicotine can cause ADHD-like symptoms in the developing brain. And if teens get hooked on nicotine and transition to traditional cigarettes, they would face the known health effects of smoking, including increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and early death. There are short-term risks too, including impaired ability of the lungs to clear mucus, making it harder to avoid infections; increased risk of heart attack; and possibly severe lung disease.

Vaughan Rees, director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said it’s important to restrict vaping companies’ advertising and marketing. “Right now there are some legal loophole, so they don’t have the same standards that are applied to cigarette advertising,” Rees said. “Tobacco companies haven’t been able to use TV and radio since the 1970s, and billboards were phased out in the 1990s, but those channels are still open to vaping.”

Read the Good Housekeeping article: What Is Juuling? Everything to Know About the Popular Vaping Trend

Learn more

Dozens of young people afflicted with a serious lung disease. Is vaping to blame? (Harvard Chan School news)

The problem with industry-sponsored vaping research (Harvard Chan School feature)

Common e-cigarette chemical flavorings may impair lung function (Harvard Chan School release)