“Juuling”: An Update on Teens and E-cigarettes

Staying current on teenage trends is a fleeting task – as soon as we learn about one, they’re onto something else. However, there is one trend that I want to flag for parents if you haven’t heard about it already: “Juuling.”

A Juul is an e-cigarette that looks like a flash drive. I’ve written about why e-cigarette use in teens is concerning in a previous blog post, if you’d like a refresher. Essentially, they are potentially neurotoxic and addictive. The trend evolved, and last year we learned that some teens were “dripping” with e-cigarettes, which is a more potent vaping method.

Juuling is essentially vaping with a new product. What concerns me, as a parent of teens and a pharmacist in the Drug and Poison Information Center, is that teens are continuing to use these devices and in new ways. What’s more, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently found that e-cigarette use among teens is associated with future cigarette use.

I’d like to share what I’ve learned about juuling, so that more parents are informed:

5 Things Parents Need To Know About Juuling

 

  1. It contains dangerous levels of nicotine

    It may actually contain more nicotine than cigarettes. In fact, it is estimated that one pod is equivalent to a whole pack of cigarettes.

  2. It may have leaking issues

    There are reports of the e-liquid leaking from the device during use. This is concerning because the e-liquid is a neurotoxin and if ingested or absorbed through the skin, it could cause harmful side effects. Symptoms could vary from mild symptoms, such as vomiting, sweating or dizziness to the more severe overdose symptoms, such as seizures or muscle weakness.

  3. It may be easily accessible

    It is available for purchase online. However, some, not all, sites have started requiring an age verification process.

  4. It’s discreet

    Because the juul looks like a flash drive, it’s easy to dismiss as something innocuous. It’s so discreet, in fact, that some news outlets have reported students doing it in class.

  5. It’s appealing for the same reasons as e-cigarettes

    Most notably, it’s slick looking and comes in appealing fruity flavors.

I recommend adding “juuling” to your list of things to talk to your teens about. Aside from my concerns listed above, I am worried that teens may think that e-cigarettes and juuling are harmless. Quite the opposite is true. Anything that contains nicotine has the potential to be harmful and addictive to teens.  

If you have further questions about juuling, e-cigarettes, or dripping, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your  Drug and Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222. We would be happy to walk through the potential dangers or what to do if you suspect an exposure.

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Sheila Goertemoeller, PharmD, D.ABAT

About the Author: Sheila Goertemoeller, PharmD, D.ABAT

Sheila Goertemoeller PharmD, DABAT, ICPS is a pharmacist and clinical toxicologist with 22 years of experience at the Drug and Poison Information Center Hotline at Cincinnati Children’s.

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Comments

  1. EDN March 20, 09:55
    Dr. Goertemoeller: Well done. These uses of toxic drugs and chemicals come so fast. Thank you for helping everyone keep up. EDN