(KWWL) – With a Food and Drug Administration crackdown on the horizon for e-cigarettes, the makers of JUUL are stopping flavored products from being stocked in stores to combat youth vaping.
The FDA is expected to announce restrictions on the selling of e-cigarettes in the coming days after recently calling “juuling” and “vaping” among youth an epidemic.
A JUUL is a form of a discreet e-cigarette that produces no odor and looks like a flash drive. While it is smokeless, one of the JUUL pods holds as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.
The makers said JUUL was created to help adults kick the habit of smoking.
On Thursday, the company announced it would stop social media promotion efforts and stop orders for flavored pods, such as mango and creme brulee, at convenience stores and gas stations.
In a statement, CEO Kevin Burns said, “Our intent was never to have youth use JUUL products. But intent is not enough, the numbers are what matter, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem. We must solve it.”
Despite the move, the Area Substance Abuse Council, out of Cedar Rapids, believes damage has already been done.
“It’s a whole new batch of people that are addicted to nicotine,” ASAC Director Prevention Services Erin Foster said.
Foster said since the start of the new school year, the rise of vaping among Iowa youth has only gotten worse.
“Vaping and any use of electronic smoking devices continue to grow. It’s rare that we go a week without hearing about a school that needs help with prevention,” she said.
In a previous KWWL report, ASAC and area principals reported a growing number of students using the products during school.
Foster said the changes by JUUL will deter some but not all.
“I think it helps in a small way because it does pull things off social media. We know that social media has such an impact on youth and yes, getting some of those flavors out there is a positive thing but it’s almost one of those things where the damage has been done already,” Foster said.
She added that the reports they’ve received from schools and resource officers is that JUUL devices are also now used for other drugs such as marijuana.
Foster said because the product is still out there, young adults will still use it.
“It’s another play that the tobacco company has perfectly played into with youth. Getting something that is trendy, getting something that they like, getting them addicted to the high levels of nicotine,” she said. “Even though pulling the flavors, is one step the fact is that we already have a large new group of people addicted to nicotine is going to be a problem down the road.”
The expected roll out of restrictions by the FDA and the changes by JUUL won’t change anything for ASAC, Foster said.
She said ASAC will continue to work hard through education for youth, parents, and schools about nicotine-use.
JUUL said they will continue to sell the sweeter flavors online. However, the website will soon add a third-party verification process to only allow people that are 21-years-old and up to buy their products.