While the maker of the e-cigarette JUUL claims it is “only for adults,” new Truth Initiative® research shows that teenagers are more likely to use the device than older age groups.

In fact, 15- to 17-year-olds have over 16 times greater odds of being current JUUL users compared to those between 25 and 34 years old, according to a study published in Tobacco Control. The research, which surveyed more than 13,000 young people between 15 and 34, is the first of its kind to explore the rates and characteristics of JUUL use and its results call into question JUUL’s position that it doesn’t market to youth and that its target audience is adult smokers.

15-to-17-year-olds are 16 times more likely to use a JUUL compared to 25-34-year-olds

The research also indicates that teens are not just experimenting with the device, but using it regularly. Among 15- to 17-year-olds who used JUUL in the past 30 days, 56 percent used the e-cigarette on three or more days and almost half of that group used it on 10 or more days in the past month. The study found that 9.7 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds reported ever using JUUL, which has become so popular that is now makes up almost three-quarters of the entire e-cigarette market. E-cigarettes, such as JUUL and vape pens like the KandyPens Rubi and Suorin Drop, are now the most popular tobacco product among youth.

Nearly 10% of 15-17-year-olds have used a JUUL

A recent announcement from Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb declared that youth use of e-cigarettes reached “nothing short of an epidemic proportion of growth,” and cited new, unpublished FDA data that anticipate a 77 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students compared to 2017. That estimate may be conservative because many teenagers do not consider JUUL to be an e-cigarette.

Of 15- to 17-year-olds who use JUUL, 56% use it 3+ days a month and almost half of that group use it 10+ days a month.

According to the JUUL website, one standard JUUL cartridge, or JUUL pod, equals roughly the nicotine content of 20 cigarettes and the device delivers nicotine up to 2.7 times faster than other e-cigarettes, increasing the potential for addiction. Nicotine is harmful to developing brains: younger users are more likely to become addicted, have more difficulty quitting and are at higher risk for addiction to other substances in the future. Young adults who use e-cigarettes are more than four times as likely to begin smoking tobacco cigarettes within 18 months compared to their peers who do not vape.

“We know that teens using these products, who were not smokers in the first place, are four times more likely to go on to smoke cigarettes,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “Regulation and education are key in stopping the e-cigarette epidemic from erasing 20 years of progress in preventing youth and young adults from becoming smokers.”

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