WEDNESDAY, April 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Many young Americans don't realize that the wildly popular Juul electronic cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine, putting them at risk for future cigarette use, a new study shows.
Looking much like a USB flash drive, just one Juul cartridge has nicotine levels equal to a pack of cigarettes, the researchers said. And Juul now commands more than half of the e-cigarette market.
The new study found that 25 percent of survey respondents aged 15 to 24 recognized a Juul e-cigarette device when shown a photo of the product. Among those who recognized it, 23 percent said use of the product is called "Juuling," suggesting the product is so distinctive that young people place it in a category of its own, said Truth Initiative, the group that conducted the study.
But 63 percent of Juul users did not know that the product contains nicotine, the findings showed.
"It is no wonder that Juul e-cigarettes have rapidly caught on with youth -- they look like a sleek USB flash drive, are easily concealed, and come in youth-appealing flavors like mint, mango and creme brulee," said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative.
"Unfortunately, young people are unaware that Juul packs a powerful nicotine punch with a single cartridge equal to an entire pack of cigarettes. This escalates the urgency for [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration regulation and public education regarding the risks for young people," Koval said in an organization news release.
Prior research has shown that e-cigarette use by young people strongly increases their risk of cigarette smoking. More than four times as many young adults who use e-cigarettes start smoking tobacco cigarettes than those who do not use e-cigarettes, according to the Truth Initiative.
After promising to introduce e-cigarette regulations, the FDA decided to allow e-cigarettes to avoid full regulatory compliance until 2022, four years later than the original deadline and 13 years after the agency was given authority over tobacco products. That decision is being challenged in a lawsuit by Truth Initiative and six other public health and medical groups.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about e-cigarettes.