It looks like a harmless USB flash drive, easily hidden in a school backpack or back pocket. But the JUUL, a slim electronic delivery device for nicotine, has become the e-cigarette of choice for many young people in the U.S.
By inserting a JUUL pod into the JUUL and breathing into the mouthpiece, users get a strong hit of nicotine as the device vaporizes the liquid in the JUUL pod. Once the power runs out, it can be recharged using the USB port on a computer.
Many young people are lured by the kid-friendly flavors that JUUL pods offer, including cotton candy, mango and chocolate. Others incorrectly believe that it is a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes and does not contain nicotine.
“E-cigarettes contain nicotine and are harmful and highly addictive. Use among high school students is up 78 percent in the last year, with 1.5 million new students using e-cigarettes,” said Tiffany Heckendorn, pediatrician at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, referencing the Federal Drug Administration (FDA)'s 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey results.