Some people are worried about juuling because they’ve seen alarming stories in newspapers and on TV news. The word “juuling” is often used as a catchall term for teenage vaping. A campaign to generate fear and doubt about juuling is underway, propelled by groups opposed to all vaping and nicotine use, and aimed at scaring understandably concerned parents.
“The media reports of a teenage juuling ‘epidemic’ do not add up with population studies that show regular use of these products by never smokers to be very low,” University of Waterloo (Ontario) sociologist Amelia Howard told Vaping360. “The juuling stories have the classic hallmarks of a moral panic: widespread fear based on exaggerated risk.”
JUUL is often accused of “marketing to youth,” and fears are being stoked that juuling and vaping are encouraging kids to take up smoking. But teenage smoking has dropped to its lowest level since surveys began measuring it.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 24.6 percent of 12th graders smoked cigarettes daily in 1997. But in 2017, just 4.2 percent smoked daily. And teen vaping itself has been declining. From 2015 to 2016, the number of middle and high school students who reported using e-cigarettes dropped almost 30 percent.
“This needs to be understood in light of the politics of disruptive innovation,” says Amelia Howard. “Vaping solves the problem of smoking, and stands to make cigarettes — and the treatment of tobacco addiction — obsolete. JUUL, as an attractive mass market product, is particularly threatening to existing interests, and a perfect target.”