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As the U.S. continues to struggle with increasing teen nicotine addiction rates that have resulted from the marketing of vaping and electronic cigarette products, teachers in schools nationwide indicate it is only a few specific brands which are most commonly confiscating and appear to be driving the problems.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers say JUUL, Sourin and SMOK vaping “pods” or cartridges are the most common e-cigarette products confiscated by school staff, according to data from California and North Carolina high schools. Their findings were published on October 23 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Researchers from the CDC conducted an assessment of 1,481 high schools in North Carolina and California, regarding the e-cigarette and vaping products confiscated from students or found on school grounds during the 2018 through 2019 academic year.
Of the 25 schools that responded with information, 233 devices and 343 e-liquid cartridges were collected in California and 176 devices and 267 e-liquid cartridges were collected in North Carolina. Researchers reviewed the device information reported and characterized them by device type, e-liquid cartridge type, and brand.
Pod mods, which contain highly addictive nicotine salts rather than the freebase nicotine, were found to be the most commonly collected devices, accounting for 64% in California and 74% in North Carolina. Among e-liquid cartridges, pod mod cartridges were the most commonly collected in California (80%) and North Carolina (81%).
Of the 1,019 e-cigarette and cartridges collected, three brands of pod mod style products were most commonly seen; Suorin (29%), SMOK (15%), and JUUL (14%) in California, and JUUL (48%), SMOK (16%), and Suorin (9%) in North Carolina.
Researchers indicate the Suorin and SMOK pod mod style cartridges may be the most appealing to youth due to their affordability and ability for the cartridge to be manually refilled with different types and nicotine flavors or non-nicotine liquids, such as marijuana.
Supporting research added by the CDC states one third of current U.S. high school e-cigarette users report using marijuana in e-cigarettes.
Teen Vaping Concerns
While electronic cigarettes were initially marketed as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, the introduction of JUUL vape pods and other flavored e-cigarettes became increasingly popular among teenage nonsmokers. Federal health regulators indicate that there is now a growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette addiction nationwide.
Vaping nicotine addictions have become a major public health concerns over the last decade, with higher rates of middle school and high school students beginning to use e-cigarette or vaping products at younger ages. Officials have expressed concerns that these trends may result in lifelong tobacco addictions and an increased risk of youth ultimately switching to traditional burning tobacco products.
Studies indicate vaping is creating a new generation of tobacco smokers among the nation’s youth who are drawn to the candy-like flavors of e-cigarettes.
In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an action aimed at preventing Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) companies from continuing to sell a multitude of flavored products that entice children and teens to vape, fueling the growing nicotine addiction problems among prior non-smokers in the United States.
The e-cigarette and vaping industry has fallen under heavy scrutiny is recent years, with many alleging manufacturers add cartoon characters or appealing flavoring additives to appear to children. Additional allegations, such as some arising against JUUL, have claimed manufacturers intentionally design e-cigarettes to look like a USB thumb drives, as part of an effort to appeal to youth.
Dozens of JUULing addiction lawsuits and class action lawsuits have been filed against the company in recent months, each raising allegations that the e-cigarette manufacturer marketed their products toward minors and prior non-smokers, while failing to warn that JUUL pods are more potent and addictive than traditional cigarettes.
In October, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating all JUUL cases pending throughout the federal court system before Judge William H. Orrick III, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is where JUUL Labs, Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters are located.