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As the numbers of teens and young adults using nicotine vaping products in the U.S. continues to rise, a new study lays out some serious concerns about the side effects of nicotine addiction and exposure during critical development stages.
Researchers with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warn that childhood nicotine exposure, which includes as exposure as adolescents, as well as both before and after birth, can result in nicotine addiction, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lung problems and other health issues.
The findings were published in the February edition of the AAP’s official journal, Pediatrics.
Researchers reviewed clinical and preclinical studies to determine the health effects of new-era noncombustible cigarette products, like JUUL and other e-cigarettes on children. They specifically focused on those of children and teenagers who had never used nicotine based vaping products before.
When reviewing youth addiction to nicotine, researchers found behavioral differences and greater dopamine releases in response to nicotine among adolescents when compared to adults, indicating that the chances of addiction are significantly greater for youth. Further, the study found teens who had never smoked nicotine-based e-cigarette products before were at an increased risk of becoming a daily user after their first use of a nicotine-based e-cigarette product.
Researchers highlighted the risks of adolescents becoming addicted to nicotine, suggesting that JUUL and other products can almost trap them into becoming a daily user, due to the addictive concentrations of nicotine. Past research has shown JUUL products to contain nicotine concentrations that are eight times higher than the average e-cigarette, and over five times higher than a traditional cigarette.
Of the adolescents who only used e-cigarettes, 80.3% were found to be using them 12 months later, and their daily use increased from 14.5% to 29.8%.
The research included an evaluation of multiple clinical and preclinical studies, which also found that nicotine exposure alone has the potential to cause developmental abnormalities, harm childhood health, and addict a new generation of adolescents and young adults to nicotine.
Youth exposure to nicotine during developmental stages may increase the underdevelopment of their nervous, respiratory, immune, and cardiovascular systems, according to the findings. These problems increase the risk of developmental issues at a very early age, such as SIDS and lung development problems, and later exposure could increase the risk of behavioral and developmental disorders, like ADHD and memory issues, the researchers warned.
E-Cigarette Youth Epidemic
E-cigarettes are the most popular form of tobacco for teens in the U.S., and data suggests that 1.5 million more teens were vaping in 2018 than in 2017. In 2018, nearly 5 million teens admitted currently using e-cigarettes. Studies indicate teens who vape are more likely to continue using the devices, or turn to traditional tobacco cigarettes later, exposing them long-term carcinogens.
Many of the health effects of vaping on youth are still unknown. For example, in April 2019 the FDA issued a warning about the growing number of reports involving seizures problems from Vaping. By August 2019, the FDA indicated it was aware of at least 127 seizure cases among users of e-cigarettes.
JUUL has become the most popular form of e-cigarette, and the manufacturer has been criticized for following the marketing strategy previously employed by the tobacco industry, targeting younger users to create life-long users of their products.
The JUUL pens were designed to look like USB thumb drives, and emit little to no visible vapor, leading to widespread use among teens and prior non-smokers, many of which now suffer lifelong nicotine addictions from JUULing. The vape pods’ design makes it even easier for users to inhale large quantities of nicotine without noticing, increasing the addictiveness of JUULing.
A growing number of JUUL lawsuits and class action claims have been filed nationwide. Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the JUUL litigation has been centralized before U.S. District 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.
As JUUL addiction lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months, the litigation is expected to continue to grow, and is likely to encompass tens of thousands of complaints.