Teenage Perspectives on Juuling

by Rebecca Israel, MS. Reviewed by Charles Li, MD

July 27, 2020

  • Juul users are most likely to be school age, white, and financially comfortable.

  • Juul users report social integration as their primary reason for trying the product.

  • Juul products are viewed as a less harmful alternative to other substances.

teens and juuling title

Since its launch, Juul has interrupted public health efforts to end teen smoking. The company used the power of social media to make teenagers feel like the Juul was a symbol of inclusivity and popularity. But just like other vices, socially desirable activities are not always the healthiest.

All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.

CDC

CDC: Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults

Who is most likely to use Juul?

Study of JUUL use and user demographics among 14,379 participants aged 15-34 in the USA.

Source: Prevalence and correlates of JUUL use among a national sample of youth and young adults

Researchers sent surveys to a nationally representative sample to estimate the prevalence of Juul use and identify the demographic characteristics of those who partake. They found that 6% of their sample had tried Juul. These rates were significantly higher in younger samples: 9.5% aged 15–17 years and 11.2% aged 18–21 years. This data informs our understanding of the target population for Juul: high school and college students.

Why do young adults try Juul in the first place?

Data found that the majority of young people try Juul as part of a social experience.

Source: Youth Perceptions of Juul in the United States

JAMA Pediatrics recently published a survey of youth Juul perceptions. The aim of the letter was to inform policymakers and public health officials who organize anti-vaping interventions. Data found that the majority of young people try Juul as part of a social experience. The subjects did not claim to be greatly influenced by other factors like advertising. We may also imagine that many young people who have tried or continue to use Juul would not have engaged in their first encounter if it weren't for social influences.

The consensus

Public health organizations have put extensive resources into reducing the prevalence of teenage tobacco use. The prevalence has been on a steady decline for many years. One reasons why teenagers are not using tobacco products as much is because societal opinions have changed. for most, it is no longer cool or attractive to smoke a cigarette. Juul re-imagined this concept to turn teenagers on to their products. Optimistically, similar public health tactics used to reduce teen cigarette use can be used in reduce Juul use.

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