Meet Juul, the Latest Teen Sensation

Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts/Newscom via ZUMA

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Cigarette smoking may be on the decline, but vaping is on the rise. The Wall Street Journal reports that the popularity of the Juul among high-school kids is skyrocketing:

After two decades of declining teen cigarette use, “Juuling” is exploding. The Juul liquid’s 5% nicotine concentration is significantly higher than that of most other commercially available e-cigarettes. Juul Labs Inc., maker of the device, says one liquid pod delivers nicotine comparable to that delivered by a pack of cigarettes, or 200 puffs—important for adult smokers trying to switch to an e-cigarette. It is also part of what attracts teens to the product, which some experts say is potentially as addictive as cigarettes and has schools and parents scrambling to get a grip on the problem.

But it’s not aimed at teens. Of course not:

One big concern, addiction researchers say, is that Juul lacks many characteristics that deter people from smoking in the first place, such as a harsh smell and burnt-tobacco taste. Juul flavors include “Creme Brulee,” “Fruit Medley” and “Mango,” in addition to “Classic Tobacco.” … A Juul device fits easily in a pocket and looks nondescript when plugged into a laptop’s USB drive to recharge or sitting on a desk. Teachers say students gather in bathrooms, library carrels and locker rooms to pass Juuls. The minimal vapor and barely there smell makes it harder to detect than some other e-cigarettes.

….Criticism that it was designed to appeal to kids is “absolutely false,” says Ashley Gould, Juul Labs chief administrative officer. “It’s non-cylindrical because when smokers move away from cigarettes they don’t want to be reminded of cigarettes.” Something that could be plugged directly into a USB port was also convenient, she says….Ms. Gould says the company is trying to find more ways of working with local law enforcement to prevent sales to under-age customers. It is also looking at technologies that could disable the device on school grounds, she says.

Easy come, easy go.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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