Adolescents’ Awareness of the Nicotine Strength and E-cigarette Status of JUUL E-cigarettes
Background: JUUL e-cigarettes are popular among youth. However, it is unknown whether adolescents understand that 5% JUUL pods contain a high nicotine concentration or consider JUULs to be e-cigarettes.
Method: 3170 students from 4 Connecticut high schools completed a school-based survey (May-October 2018). Students reported on lifetime and past-month JUUL use and perceived JUUL nicotine strength (low/medium/high/don’t know) when no information about nicotine concentration was provided and, subsequently, when informed JUULs contain 5% nicotine. Students reported whether they believe JUULs are e-cigarettes (no/yes/don’t know).
Results: Students were never JUUL users (56.6%), ever users (13.2%), and past-month users (30.2%). When no information was provided, students reported that JUULs contain low (10.5%), medium (26.9%), or high nicotine levels (31.1%); 31.4% did not know. When informed JUULs contain 5% nicotine, students were more likely to believe JUUL’s nicotine strength was low (29.5%) or medium (29.3%) than high (21.3%) and less likely to report not knowing (19.9%). 39% of students believed JUULs are not e-cigarettes or did not know.
Discussion: Most students were unaware of JUUL’s high nicotine concentration, with more believing that JUULs contain low or medium nicotine concentrations when informed JUULs contain 5% nicotine. Thus, youth may misinterpret the nicotine concentration printed on JUUL pod packaging, raising concerns about inadvertent exposure to high nicotine levels and dependence risk. Further, 39% of adolescents believed JUULs are not e-cigarettes or were unsure. Regulatory efforts are needed to establish understandable nicotine concentration labels, require products to be labeled accordingly, and clarify what products constitute e-cigarettes.
Morean, Meghan E., Krysten W. Bold, Grace Kong, et al. 2019. "Adolescents’ Awareness of the Nicotine Strength and E-cigarette Status of JUUL E-cigarettes." Drug and Alcohol Dependence 204: 107512.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Adolescent, Electronic cigarette, E-cigarette, Vaping, JUUL, Nicotine