There is a new craze making its way into high schools across the nation, the Juul e-cigarette. This outbreak has been covered by Newsweek and various other media outlets. The Juul is an e-cigarette that looks like a flash drive. The device vaporizes nicotine, and other chemicals and flavorings that gives you the feel of smoking a cigarette, without the harm of smoking a cigarette. Well, that was the plan at least. As it turns out, inhaling any kind of smoke or vapor (that is derived from chemicals) is not too great for your lungs.. Who knew?
Is the New Technology Affecting Schools?
Educators across the country are having a tough time cracking down on the e-cigarette craze. The devices are easily concealable (they look like a flash drive) and kids are hiding the vapor by blowing it down there shirt as they walk through the hallway or ducking into a bathroom to use the vape. One high school on Long Island went as far as having special smoke detectors installed in the bathrooms that will detect the vapor when it is exhaled.
What is the FDA’s Opinion?
As the FDA learns more about this new technology, they are realizing the health risks that come with it. E-cigarettes were originally designed to help cigarette smokers quit. While they are a healthier option for the lungs of cigarette smokers, they are not as healthy as not smoking at all. The CDC has released statements saying that these devices can cause health problems later on in life like cancer or other lung diseases.
The FDA is beginning to crackdown on the sale of Juul’s to a minor. As most states have increased the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21 years old, some still have not. Even the states that have raised the legal age to sell nicotine products to 21 years old are having a problem keeping the slick devices out of minor’s hands. Minor’s are finding ways around the age restriction, either buying the Juul from an online retailer or purchasing them illegally from a young adult looking to make a quick buck.
What’s Yosi’s Take?
Should Juul Vape be held responsible for allowing its e-cigarettes to be sold to underage minors?
This is a tough question to answer. On one hand, Juul Vape cannot control the actions of underage minors going online and knowingly purchasing these e-cigarettes. Kids will find ways to purchase any items online; the internet just makes it way too easy.
On the other hand, if these e-cigarettes truly expose children to the risk of cancer, public policy would say that something absolutely needs to be done to make sure that e-cigarettes do not get into the hands of minors. The CDC already deemed these e-cigarettes unsafe for children. Moreover, the product’s aerosol may contain cancer-causing chemicals and flavorings linked to serious lung diseases. On top of all that, Juul uses vapor with a higher concentration of nicotine than traditional tobacco cigarettes. If I was counsel for Juul Vape, I would advise them not to allow their e-cigarettes to be sold online for this reason. No amount of profits justify exposing individuals to something deadly, like cancer, especially children. It’s just not worth it.
If these e-cigarettes do in fact lead to cancer, the company is potentially facing thousands of lawsuits by these children and their families. If Juul Vape later tries to defend itself and say that did nothing wrong by selling these e-cigarettes online, I do not believe that would be a valid defense. Society and the courts would argue that Juul Vape knew that by selling their product online, children could get their hands on it and by doing so, Juul Vape was grossly negligent. I would agree with this argument.
Ultimately, I believe it’s a disastrous mistake for Juul Vape to allow their e-cigarettes to be sold online as it allows underage children to have easy access to purchasing them. They should only be sold in stores where individuals must provide proper identification showing that they are of age to purchase tobacco products.