- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Over half of teens and young adults who use JUUL, a branded e-cigarette, don’t know the product contains nicotine, according to new research by Truth Initiative, a nonprofit anti-smoking organization.

Sixty-three percent of 15- to 24-year-olds said they didn’t believe the product they normally use contains nicotine. JUUL, which has exploded in popularity over the past two years, is a vaping device with interchangeable liquid-filled cartridges. Their unique mixture contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

“Unfortunately, young people are unaware that JUUL packs a powerful nicotine punch with a single cartridge equal to an entire pack of cigarettes,” Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, said in a statement. “This escalates the urgency for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation and public education regarding the risks for young people.”

The survey was conducted by the Schroeder Institute at Truth Initiative and included responses from 1,012 youth and young adults.

Of these, 25 percent of respondents recognized the JUUL product by name, and of those, 23 percent said that it is used for “JUULing,” which researchers pointed out is so distinctive it is perceived as its own category.

After years of declining cigarette smoking rates, health officials are worried that the increase in vaping popularity — seen as a healthier alternative — and the attractiveness of JUUL, with a sleek, discreet design and flavored liquids — more teens will become addicted to nicotine and will be more likely to initiate cigarette smoking later.

Representatives for JUUL maintain the product was created to transition cigarette smokers to less harmful vaping products, are not intended for never-smokers and are only available to people 21 and over.

However, resourceful teens are increasingly getting their hands on the product as it becomes more widespread.

Truth Initiative hopes that its research will help spur the Food and Drug Administration to clamp down on regulating e-cigarettes, of which it has an extended deadline of 2022 to allow for more innovation in the market and research to accumulate. The FDA is also weighing regulation of nicotine in products to non-addictive levels.

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