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What is JUULing and Why Should You Care?

​​​You may have heard rumblings of an item called a JUUL, but many do not know what it actually is or that it contains nicotine. JUUL is a brand of electronic cigarette or vaping device that looks like a USB drive and can be charged in a laptop USB port. Pronounced “jewel,” the sleek, black vaping pen fits in the palm of a hand and is easy to use discreetly.

JUUL Contains Nicotine

JUUL uses interchangeable vaping pods that snap into the device. These cartridges hold “juice” that is heated up as the user inhales, creating a vapor that delivers a fast hit of nicotine. The juice pods come in a variety of flavors such as mint, cucumber, fruit medley, mango, menthol or classic tobacco. The use of these flavors help to mask the bitter nicotine taste.

JUUL pods contain a higher concentration of nicotine, 5 percent by weight, than many other electronic cigarettes, which only have 2.4 percent or less.

How JUUL Works

JUUL is a battery-operated device that heats a “juice” pod or e-liquid. When heated, the e-liquid creates a vapor that is inhaled. While these pods do not contain tobacco or tar, they do contain many other chemicals that can be harmful.

The Risks of JUUL

Vaping, whether it be JUUL or another e-cigarette brand, raises the risk of becoming a regular cigarette smoker. Nicotine in the form of liquid or actual cigarettes is highly addictive. The high amounts of nicotine in e-cigarettes is a concern for youth, as they have a greater chance of becoming addicted to nicotine than adults. Additionally, the aerosol used to produce the vapor after inhaling the liquid has been found to contain heavy metals, ultrafine particles and cancer-causing compounds, among others.

JUUL Quick Facts

  • Nearly one in five students aged 12 to 17 have seen a JUUL used in school
  • Sixty-three percent of JUUL users age 15 to 24 did not know it contained nicotine
  • One juice pod contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes
  • Youth e-cigarette users are four times more likely to use actual cigarettes later in life
  • You can buy a JUUL in-person at the age of 18, depending on the state, but have to be 21 to buy one online
  • A majority of youth e-cigarette users think they consume only flavoring, not nicotine, when vaping
  • JUULing has become a widely used term, many perceive it as its own category
  • JUUL holds a 54 percent share of the cigarette market, a higher percentage than Marlboro had in its peak days

Talk to your child about why e-cigarettes are harmful to them. It is never too late.

Health and Safety;Family and Parenting Pediatrics