by Drew Ward
High school is known for drama, friends, relationships, and now, Juuls. Juuling is an epidemic that has swept across the United States. In an unofficial survey by the FDA, approximately 3.6 million middle school and high school students in the United States have vaped in the past year. With an outrageous amount of students vaping, the FDA came out with an aggressive plan to cure the epidemic. The FDA this week hindered the largest e-cigarette maker, Juul labs.
Juul labs is a San Francisco based company that started off with the intent of weaning people off of smoking. It appears to be better than smoking because it does not contain the harmful tar, tobacco, and hidden chemicals that cigarettes do. To complete their objective, Juul created flavors that would appeal to people, including Virginia tobacco, mint, classic tobacco, mango, cucumber, creme, menthol, and fruit.
Although the number of people who started using these devices to quit smoking increased, Juul has also become popular with high school students. Over the past two years, Juuls have been integrated into high school life. Juuling is seen as safe and fun, and the flavors add to that perception. Most high school students know that cigarettes cause lung, mouth, throat and sometimes lip cancer but Juuls are new and no conclusive research has been done to see how harmful it is. Because there are no cases of Juul causing disease, teens think why not do it? That is why over 3 million kids have vaped and why the FDA got involved.
In September, the FDA gave Juul and other e-cigarette companies 60 days to complete a plan that would limit or eradicate underage vaping. The 60 days ended at the end of November and Juul went above and beyond what the FDA wanted. First, Juul will only sell mint, menthol, and tobacco flavors at stores and has asked for their product to only be sold in areas where minors cannot access. Next, Juul raised the age minimum to 21 and made their age verification stricter. Now, a phone number, date of birth, permanent address and the last 4 digits of the person’s social security number are needed to buy anything online.
In the future, Juul will make buyers use their camera to upload a picture of themselves and compare it to a government verified ID. Juul also limited the amount of product that people can buy. Consumers are only allowed to buy two Juuls per month, 15 pods a month, and a total of 10 Juuls throughout the whole year. This will limit the number of appropriate age people who buy in bulk and sell them to minors. Finally, Juul deleted their Instagram and Facebook pages that were based in the United States. They will keep their Twitter for “communication purposes” and their YouTube will be running videos of smokers who quit because of Juuls. These steps are a move in the correct direction for Juuls, as the FDA and many Americans have accused Juul of targeting teenagers and taking over the e-cigarette market.
The FDA has not since made comment on the new repeals and verification that Juul has created. However, many people are hoping that these measures will help stop teenage Juuling. Others believe that Juul labs just created a smoke screen to get the FDA off of their back and onto someone else.