How Does a Juul Work? Uses & Health Risks
Juul vaporizers (otherwise known as vapes or e-cigarettes) have quickly become one of the most popular ways Americans smoke. There are many brands and manufacturers of e-cigarettes that have had varying degrees of success, but Juul currently leads the pack.
Juul e-cigs work by heating flavored oils that come in sealed, single-use Juulpods to create a vapor that is inhaled by the user. The slim, slickly designed devices are about the size of a USB stick and are marketed as a safer, more convenient and more pleasant alternative to traditional cigarettes. Juul’s stated mission is to "improve the lives of the world’s 1 billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes.”
Even if e-cigarettes are indeed safer than their combustible counterparts, vape oil still contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Many of these oils also contain otherwise innocuous substances that may become harmful when vaporized and inhaled. And for years, Juul marketed its e-cigs and oils without warning users about the dangers, including failing to advertise that its oils contained nicotine.
Nicotine Risk Not Just a Passing Cloud
The greatest health risks caused by smoking standard cigarettes come from substances and chemicals other than nicotine, but the dangers of nicotine inhalation itself should not be understated. Nicotine on its own is toxic; it can negatively affect blood pressure and blood sugar levels, cause ulcers, and even promote plaque buildup on artery walls, among a host of other negative effects.
Nicotine is also severely addictive on a chemical level. Users develop a dependency on it very quickly, and once addicted, they will suffer physical and mental symptoms if they ever stop using it — even for a brief period of time. Breaking a nicotine addiction can be a painful and expensive process, sometimes even requiring a stay in a recovery or rehabilitation treatment facility.
Juul oils contain much higher levels of nicotine than their e-cigarette competitors. The company says this is to make the experience more like smoking a standard cigarette, simplifying the transition to what it claims is a healthier alternative.
Putting Children at Risk
For adults wishing to quit standard cigarettes, with all their cancer- and lung-disease-causing compounds and substances, transitioning to vapes like Juul may be a worthwhile trade-off (although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved e-cigs as a tobacco-quitting method). But is it OK for children and teens to use them?
Because it isn’t just adult smokers using vaporizers. Juul and other e-cigarette brands have become popular with middle- and high-school-age children and teens, with the Centers for Disease Control estimating that 3.5 million of them used an e-cigarette at least once in 2018. This makes it likely that non-adult users have been a big part of Juul’s success. And Juul has indeed been very successful, valued at $38 billion following an investment by the Altria Group, the parent company of Marlboro cigarettes.
Most American children and teens do not smoke standard cigarettes, which means that when they use a Juul, they may be smoking and possibly getting addicted to nicotine for the very first time. Children and teens are much more susceptible to addiction than adults due to their still-developing brains.
Nicotine is harmful to the health of children and teens, and being addicted to nicotine condemns them to a lifetime of paying for an expensive habit — unless they go through the painful process of quitting. Some studies suggest that 90% of children and teens do not even know that e-cigarette oils contain nicotine or other harmful chemicals, and many think that all they’re consuming is delicious flavored vapor.
Did Juul Know?
Juul may have failed to adequately warn consumers of the health risks posed by its product. In fact, until November 2018, its packaging did not disclose that it contained nicotine.
Was Juul aware of how many young people were using its products? We have evidence that it was. A study from Stanford University suggests that from 2015 to 2018, a lot of Juul’s advertising was intentionally directed at children and teens. And the company has sold or still sells flavors of its vaporizer oil that are attractive to younger palates.
Trying to get 1 billion adult smokers to quit cigarettes is a worthy goal, but getting the next generation of adults addicted to other forms of nicotine is not.
Dealing With the Fallout
Morgan & Morgan has filed a class action lawsuit against Juul for knowingly advertising to children and teens. But the company’s misstep has consequences that potentially go way beyond improper advertising.
There are millions of Americans across the country who are now addicted to nicotine, a toxic substance that physically punishes those held in its grip. And many of them may have acquired this unwelcome and unhealthy condition because they smoked a Juul vape while 18 or younger, thinking it was cool or tasty, not knowing that it contained a potentially life-altering chemical.
The health effects may not be limited to nicotine addiction. There have been reports of seizures and other maladies suffered by e-cigarette users.
Federal, state, and municipal cigarette laws across the country are struggling to keep up with the vaping phenomenon, and many localities are considering laws that would increase the purchase age for e-cigarettes. But the damage has already been done.
If you or someone you love used Juul and developed a nicotine addiction or was otherwise harmed before turning 18 and prior to November 2018, you may have a case for compensation. Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.