Juul is a private electronic cigarette company created in July 2017. According to their website, their mission is to reduce the frequency of adults that smoke.
The key word here is adult. However, it seems that the targeted age group has shifted from adult smokers to young teens. The pressure is being put by the Food and Drug Administration.
There are a couple of factors that have made youth more susceptible to Juuls.
The answer to these questions is simple. Advertising and peer pressure.
The first is advertising. It is easy to spot these advertisements when watching television or simply watching YouTube. They are simply everywhere
Ads are a way for companies to get their name known and to grow their audience. It is also the way most companies or private corporations to earn their revenue.
Lately, these Juul advertisements have been reaching a young impressionable audience. For the most part, children at a very young age today still watch television and are moving also to the internet as well, which also has an abundance of ads.
Furthermore, it seems that the age groups that are being affected by the Juul are going from middle school to high school. It is estimated by the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 11.7 percent of high school students and 3.3 percent of middle school students use the Juul.
Although those statistics seem small, it accounts for over 2.1 million youth.
Lane Seely, a Flagstaff local and user of the e-Cigarette provided us with information regarding the youth using the Juul.
"I feel like for most of the teen population it is viewed as less harmful than cigarettes, so a lot of people undertake it thinking it is a less harmful alternative," said Seely.
Seely gave insight regarding what grade levels in school that he believes the Juul influences the most.
"It would probably have to be 8th grade all the way through 12th grade," Seely said.
To the public, the knowledge of minor consumption of the Juul seems to be very well known. According to the Canadian Lung Association, 70 percent of teens who smoke have friends who smoke or started smoking because of peer pressure.
Peer pressure has always influenced children doing things that they are not supposed to do. In this case, it can alter a teen's mind-state very quickly.
We also talked to Evan Loessler, a local convenient store worker and he gave his insight on the matter.
"The youth is getting hooked, a lot of kids are doing it to look cool," said Loessler.
The social appeal of buying e-cigarettes is one of the main factors that attract young smokers. Loessler maintained that he only sold to of age people who were educated on the product.
"If you know what you are getting into you'll be fine, not trying to get into them to look cool," said Loessler.
Loessler, being a user of the Juul, feels that it does have a need for smokers that previously used cigarettes.
The FDA has prioritized warning minors about the dangers of e-cigarette use on their website. Their campaign aims to target 10.7 million youth, aged 12-17. The way the FDA is going to combat this is by sending out their own ads going against the Juul. The platforms in which they plan to send out these ads too are YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Facebook, and Instagram.
"Over the past several years, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by the youth," according to fda.gov.
It is definitely a change in direction towards protecting minors from the dangers of nicotine. However, these methods might not be enough as this change may be too late.
There are already a large number of minors consuming the product as stated earlier. Speculation remains regarding the effectiveness of the FDA's counter to this issue.
Many children who already use the Juul are already addicted to nicotine, however, changing the minds of those who have never used the Juul is a different story.
This $60 million dollar effort by the FDA according to their "The Real Cost" Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign is something to be recognized as a third party putting in their two cents and speaking against Juuls. Not for their products existing, it is simply because the targeted age group is not appropriate and could lead to problems with the current generation of adolescents.
Op-ed also covered the dangers of e-cigarettes.