Here’s Why Juul Is More Addictive Than Other E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes
Print icon

News this week that the manufacturer of the electronic cigarette Juul will voluntarily limit sales of its flavored liquids to online purchases is a step in the right direction but certainly not snuffing out the problem, according to some Hartford HealthCare providers.

“Regulatory action preventing Juul sales would be great,” says Dr. J. Craig Allen, medical director of Rushford, noting that Food and Drug Administration is pushing to stiffen control of the sale of e-cigarettes like Juul. “The nicotine aerosolized in e-liquid ‘pods’ is highly addictive, especially for the developing brains of adolescents, with Juul having twice the nicotine content of the average e-cig. The more nicotine, the more potent and the quicker someone will become addicted.”

The FDA already bans the sale of such products to anyone under the age of 18, but Dr. Allen says Juul’s announcement that it will shift sales of the flavored liquids out of stores and to the Internet may not be enough to deter young users.

“In my experience, kids are pretty savvy about navigating the Internet,” he says.

The use of Juul and other liquid nicotine products is rampant in area high schools, according to Dr. Lisa Namerow, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with the Institute of Living.

“We need to lobby that the age to purchase e-cigarettes be raised to 21. Cigarettes are 21, how did the e-cig lobby get the age down to 18?” she asks.

Juul is especially easy for younger smokers to use because it’s small, the size of a computer flash drive, and more discrete. Dr. Allen says one teen reported he was in a class where every time the teacher turned his back to write something on the board vaping students took a rip from their Juul behind the teacher’s back.

In addition, he notes that “parents, teachers, healthcare providers and the community need to understand the dangers of vaping,” which has been marketed by Juul and other e-cigarette manufacturers as a smoking cessation tool and less dangerous than cigarettes.

“There are at least seven studies that show adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to progress to smoking traditional cigarettes. It’s a new pathway for big tobacco,” Dr. Allen says.

Dr. Namerow agrees, underscoring specific health effects of e-cigarettes, including the fact youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are particularly susceptible to the addicting power of nicotine.

“When we reviewed the health impact of nicotine, it was remarkable to read that the carcinogenic effects of cigarettes is much more related to the nicotine itself rather than anything in the tobacco,” she says. “You may lower your chances of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) but not cancer!”

She has been working to inform area pediatricians of the problem, asking them to hang posters in their waiting rooms to let parents know what Juul cartridges look like.

“They need to know that the thing they might see in their kids’ bedrooms is not a USB flash drive but a nicotine-containing Juul,” she notes, adding that many teens use nicotine as a stimulant to stay up at night and play video games, then show up at school extremely fatigued. “Poor sleep can leed to depression and, worse, mania. The psychiatric impact of nicotine, even in addition to the addition itself, can be quite significant in the areas of anxiety and mood.”

On Nov. 15, the FDA said brick-and-mortar stores could sell flavored e-cigarettes only from restricted areas inaccessible to minors, stopping short of a ban some members of Congress had expected. The agency will host a hearing Dec. 5 on what it calls the epidemic of e-cigarette use among teens.

Anyone interested in quitting smoking should visit Smokefree.gov, created by the National Cancer Institute. For information about Hartford HealthCare’s addiction services, click here.

 

 

 


What's New

Ketamine

What’s Next With New Ketamine Depression Drug? At IOL, a Study With Kids.

While the nation is clamoring for more information about the new treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration for depression, Drs. Andrew Winokur and Mirela Loftus are quietly working on the next application. A nasal spray containing the active ingredient Esketamine — a chemical “relative” of the drug ketamine...


Turning Recovery into a Vocation

On the darkest days of his week-long hospitalization at Natchaug, Robert Belenchia talked to people. Diagnosed with general anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and major depressive disorder, Belenchia had checked himself into the hospital after isolating himself for weeks in his Norwich apartment. Many of the people around him...

Opioids illustration

Suboxone Therapy Added to Institute of Living’s Professionals Program

A grim lesson of the opioid epidemic is that addiction can happen to anyone, including working people. The Professionals Addiction Recovery Program at the Institute of Living helps those in the workforce successfully address addiction issues. An intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to facilitate recovery efforts, the Professionals Program...

The Science of Love

Teledildonics? Could Your Next True-Love Sexual Partner Be Non-Human?

Questions about men’s health, including sexual function? Click here to download your free informational guide.  With human brains wired to connect, the digital age has only expanded the ability to make liaisons of all kinds, from romantic to robotic. Robotic? Indeed, the science of love, lust and intimacy has expanded...

Lego Forma

The Latest in Adult Relaxation: Lego Forma?

Coloring books to help adults destress are so 2018. Lego wants to replace your crayons, colored pencils and adult coloring books as a means of relaxation. Meet Lego Forma, a set of the plastic bricks aimed at an adult market. Sounds great, right? But it has people asking if this...