You have seen students smoking a JUUL or e-cigarette on campus. Are you wondering if these products are less harmful than traditional cigarettes? According to the US Surgeon General, e-cigarettes have grown in popularity by 900% among high school students between 2011- and 2015 (1). In 2016 alone, over 2 million US middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days (2). E-cigarettes are sometimes advertised as a product that will help individuals quit smoking; however, the Surgeon General reports that the most frequently cited reasons for why youth and young adults use e-cigarettes are curiosity, flavoring/taste, and lower perceived harm compared to other tobacco products (1).
One cartridge for a JUUL equals close to one pack of cigarettes. JUUL pods contain nicotine, which is an extremely addictive substance (2). Nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. It is also harmful to the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, immunological system, ocular system, renal system, and reproductive system. Nicotine and smoking is linked to lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, or breast cancer (3). Ingesting the liquid of an e-cigarette can cause acute toxicity and possibly death if a large amount of the liquid is consumed (1).