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New study: Only 3% of adult smokers used JUUL to quit in past year

JUUL claims its target customers are adult smokers – not the young people who are using it and other e-cigarettes at epidemic levels – but new research shows only 3% of adult smokers who attempted to quit in the past year used JUUL as a quit method.

A new Truth Initiative study published in Tobacco Control found that, among adult smokers who tried to quit in the past year, just 1.1% used JUUL alone, 5.6% used other e-cigarettes alone, and 10.1% used Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) alone, such as nicotine lozenges, gums or patches. For former smokers who had quit in the past four years, just 2.2% reported using JUUL alone, 10.3% used NRT alone, and 6.9% used other e-cigarettes. An additional 1.4% of former smokers reported JUUL use in combination with other methods, including NRT and other e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as aids to quit smoking, but some smokers have viewed them as a potential quit tool. Limited evidence exists about the effectiveness of these products to quit smoking and the long-term health effects of them remain unknown.

The research underscores how few adult smokers in the U.S. are using e-cigarettes to quit, while millions of young people continue to vape. Many of those young people were not at risk of becoming smokers. Researchers also found that 56.8% of young adult JUUL users between 18 and 24 had never smoked cigarettes.

Flavored e-cigarettes like JUUL continue to drive the youth vaping epidemic in the absence of comprehensive e-cigarette regulation. Recent data from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey find that one in five high school students (19.6%) and one in 20 middle school students (4.7%) reported being a current e-cigarette user. Many are vaping every day or nearly daily, signaling the highly addictive nature of nicotine. Among current e-cigarette users, 38.9% of high school students and 20% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes on 20 or more days in the past month, and 22.5% of high school users and 9.4% of middle school users reported daily use.

September 9 marked the deadline for e-cigarette makers to submit applications to the FDA to keep their products on the market. In recent months, disposable and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes -- two product types exempted from federal restrictions – have rapidly gained popularity. As the agency reviews these products, it must act quickly to remove all flavored e-cigarettes that put a generation at risk of nicotine addiction.