JUUL e-Cigarettes Injury Risks

JUUL Health Risks

In a recent warning, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that between 2011 and 2015, e-cigarette use in high school students rose 900 percent and in 2018, 20.8% of high school students used e-cigarettes. Of all e-cigarettes on the market JUUL is the most popular, seeing a 600% increase in sales during 2016-2017 and making up nearly 60% of the market thanks in part to its sleek design and flavored liquid cartridges. The cartridges contain a nicotine e-liquid formula that comes in various flavors appealing to young people.

High Levels of Nicotine

At 5% nicotine by volume, a JUUL cartridge, or pod, can have over twice as much nicotine as other competitors’ cartridges. The amount of nicotine in one JUUL cartridge is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes and with young people often using multiple cartridges in one sitting, the nicotine levels entering the body are extreme.

Resembling a USB drive, a JUUL can be easily hidden by students from teachers and administrators. The odorless vapor can be inhaled and exhaled in a matter of seconds with no trace. “JUULing” has become extremely popular in schools across the country. While cigarette smoking in young people has been in steady decline, vaping and particularly JUUL usage is on the rise exposing young people to dangerous levels of nicotine.

Effects of Nicotine

Nicotine is associated with increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. Long-term exposure has been linked with stroke and heart disease. There are also studies that link nicotine use to cancers. Specific to young people, nicotine can have serious effects on a developing brain which continues to develop until around age 25. Medical professionals believe that the highly addictive nature of nicotine has an even greater impact on adolescents and young adults than on adults. Recent reports show that nicotine can make the brain more susceptible to other addictions by elevating dopamine levels which can increase appetite for other reward-seeking behaviors like drinking, drug use and gambling. Seizures are also a side effect of nicotine poisoning. In an April 2019 statement, the FDA revealed that “some people who use e-cigarettes, especially youth and young adults, are experiencing seizures following their use.

Other Vaping Risks

There have been a rash of other unexplained lung illnesses believed to be associated with e-cigarettes reported across the country recently. Vaping is known to cause short-term inflammation of the lungs but unfortunately, researchers are still not clear on what exactly is causing the more serious and sometimes permanent pulmonary injuries that have been reported. In the summer of 2019, several people who had reported e-cigarette use within 90 days had been admitted to the hospital with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever and weight loss. According to the CDC website, as of October 1, 2019, 1,080 lung injury cases associated with using e-cigarettes, or vaping, products have been reported from 48 states and 1 U.S. territory. There have also been 18 deaths in 15 states. While most patients reported a history of using THC-containing products which JUUL does not contain, according to a statement posted October 3, 2019, the CDC, FDA, state and local health departments and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with use of e-cigarettes in hopes of pinpointing the cause of these injuries.


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