“It’s amazingly discreet and looks just like a flash drive, so it is easy for teens to hide at school or home — but it’s also trendy and comes in cool flavors, so it’s really everything kids want. I’m not surprised that they’re getting hooked,” Dr. Harold J. Farber, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and pulmonologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, tells BuzzFeed News.
Although it is illegal for people under the age of 18 to purchase e-cigarettes or other tobacco products, underage teens are still finding ways to get their hands on them. According to the FDA, a recent report from the CDC found that e-cigarette use rose from 1.5% to 16% among high school students and from 0.6% to 5.3% among middle school students from 2011 to 2015; over 2 million high school and middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2016.
“The JUUL delivers a very strong dose of nicotine — so for an adult smoker, that means it’s an important innovation because it can actually help them get off cigarettes. But for the youth, that means it has a higher addiction potential than other vapes,” Siegel says.
So if you don’t already use tobacco products, you really shouldn’t start — because nicotine dependence is a real problem. “Nicotine is highly addictive. It’s unquestionable. And we do not want anyone who isn’t already using nicotine to use the JUUL,” Gould says.