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U.S. House of Representatives Investigating Juul, Teen Vaping Concerns

Two teens vaping with a juul indoors

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives requested documents from the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. to address their alleged pursuit of underage consumers. Juul is one of the largest producers of e-cigarettes, which are advertised as a cigarette alternative or aid to quit smoking. E-cigarettes allow people to vape, rather than smoke, nicotine. The American Cancer Society contends that e-cigarettes are still addictive and that the Juul brand specifically has a high level of nicotine.

Read Now: “Parents Ask: What Is JUULing?” Nicotine use during a person’s teen years, whether by smoking or vaping, has long-term consequences. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, e-cigarette use in adolescents dramatically increases the outcome of long-term cigarette use and tobacco consumption. Smoking is often associated with drinking alcohol and other addictive substances. Inhaling nicotine in any form is addictive and can form lifelong habits. Vaping has become an increasingly prevalent and visible element of youth culture. Legislators are focused on eliminating teen access to nicotine through vaping. On January 8, 2019, H.R. 293, called the “Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019,” was proposed in the House of Representatives. This bill seeks to stop tobacco sales to youth, including vaping products.

Juul Use Among Adolescents

Vaping is a relatively novel way to consume nicotine. Vaping is the inhalation of an aerosol. Refillable cartridges contain a liquid nicotine formula. According to the American Lung Association, Juul pods and other e-cigarette formulas contain a mixture of chemicals that can include formaldehyde and acrolein. Juul is among the most popular e-cigarette options for minors. Juul e-cigarettes are appealing to minors for various reasons, including:
  • They are perceived as healthier than cigarettes
  • They are novel and cool
  • Nicotine gives a buzz or high
  • There are a variety of fruit and mint flavors
Juul is a popular brand of e-cigarettes among young people. Congress’s inquiry into their methods for marketing to teens is directly associated with this phenomenon. The question remains if Juul has strategically targeted young people or if the adolescent interest in their product is unintentional. Read More: “Is Vaping Bad for Your Lungs?”

Can Juul Be Penalized for Marketing to Minors?

It is hard to remember a time when every character on television smoked a cigarette or there was no visible surgeon general warning on tobacco products. In November 1998, a longstanding battle between the government and the major tobacco companies in the United States was concluded with a Master Settlement Agreement. This agreement effectively ended the use of marketing that directly targeted young people. Aspects of tobacco marketing that were identified and prohibited included:
  • Cartoon characters
  • Product placement in television shows and movies
  • Gift exchanges to youth for proofs of purchase
  • Brand-name sponsorships
  • Free tobacco samples
These lengthy deliberations concluded that it is illegal to promote the use of a product to young people that they are legally prohibited from using. In the United States, you must be 18 years old to purchase tobacco products. Multiple cities in the country, including Washington D.C., have raised the smoking age to 21. Several states are considering creating statewide legislation to this end. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) follows a comprehensive plan for regulating tobacco and nicotine.

As of September 2017, their plan includes several action items regarding e-cigarettes. In April 2018, the FDA requested information from Juul Labs Inc. concerning their marketing and research efforts to youth.
Multiple arms of the government are interested in whether Juul is marketing e-cigarettes to minors. Juul’s increased revenue could evidence the increased use of Juul by minors. Social dynamics and statistical data based on reputable surveys would indicate that Juul has a significant presence among underage smokers. Once Juul releases required information to the U.S. House of Representatives, it will be seen whether they have intentionally promoted teen vaping. Read Now: “Talking to Your Teens About Vaping” If you know a teen who needs help for a drug or alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to Next Generation Village. We offer comprehensive treatment programs for teens who face substance use disorders and include mental health counseling in every program. Call Next Generation Village today to learn about rehab.


Sources: American Cancer Society. “What Do We Know About E-cigarettes?” Revised April 18, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019.

American Lung Association. “E-cigarettes, “Vapes”, and JUULs What Teens Should Know.” (N.D.) Accessed June 18, 2019.

Chaffee, Benjamin W. et al. “Electronic Cigarette Use and Progression From Experimentation to Established Smoking.” American Academy of Pediatrics News and Journals. Published April 2, 2018. Accessed June 18, 2019.

Congress.gov. “H.R. 293 Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019.” Published January 8, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019.

Public Health Law Center. “The Master Settlement Agreement: An Overview.” Published November 2018. Accessed June 18, 2019.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA’s Comprehensive Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation.” Updated June 4, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019.

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