BY: Matthew Wielk
Juul, the nation’s leading e-cigarette maker, is halting store sales of some flavors to deter use by minors, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The move by Juul Labs Inc. comes ahead of an expected U.S. government crackdown on underage sales of flavored e-cigarettes.
Will the new age restrictions stop underage people from using Juul products?
“I think this has the potential to get students to stop Juuling or smoking e-cigs,” said junior nursing student Madison Wong. “An age limit might make it a little harder for minors to obtain and feed an addiction but at the same time, if they are already addicted, they will find ways to feed this addiction, which I think is a huge problem.”
Senior Rob Paeprer said, “I feel that kids who aren’t old enough to buy a Juul are still getting access to them. Strict age limits will help with limiting access to buying a Juul, but I think they will still find ways around the restriction.”
According to AP, “Juul said it stopped filling store orders Tuesday for mango, fruit, creme and cucumber pods and will resume sales only to retailers that scan IDs and take other steps to verify a buyer is at least 21.”
“Pods are pretty expensive, so I don’t think people are going to spend the money to stock up on the fruit flavors. I think this will cause the people who don’t like tobacco and mint flavors to quit using the Juul,” said sophomore Alyssa Miro. “I think people who only like mint and menthol flavors will continue to use it, but possibly cut back.”
However, junior Emma Sanders thinks that students will try to stock up on the flavored pods before they run out for good.
“People will definitely try to buy as many of the flavored packs of pods as possible. Since stores won’t be selling them anymore, students will try to make them last as long as they can before having to strictly use mint or tobacco pods,” said Sanders.
Juul products were meant to help adult smokers who are trying to quit real cigarettes. However, many adolescents and young adults began to smoke Juuls for different purposes.
“I know kids have access to them in middle school and don’t even know what is in Juul pods, they just think it’s cool to use,” said Paeprer. “I think kids will continue to use them regardless of the restrictions because they are getting addicted to them at such a young age that it will be hard to stop.”
What would happen if the FDA decided to have Juuls and other e-cigarettes taken off the market completely?
“I think that kids would go crazy without having a Juul, but if they were banned then I feel like it would just push kids to smoke regular cigarettes,” said Sanders. “It may seem like a good idea to ban Juuls but there could be some issues with it.”
Health risks caused by using a Juul can affect physical and emotional development for kids, according to the National Center for Health Research.
The AP also reported that the FDA is looking into whether the other e-cigarette companies are marketing products illegally to minors.
“I don’t think students are aware of the health risks associated with Juuling. I think there needs to be more education around it to get students to stop. It’s a problem that Juuling has become socially acceptable to the point where students have no desire to quit. History is repeating itself again. Years ago, cigarettes were a big thing and now we can see cancer and several health problems coming around affecting these people,” said Wong.