Doctors Warn Parents About Teen Use of New Vaping Device

Connecticut doctors are warning parents about a new vaping device that’s becoming popular among teens.

JUUL is advertised as an alternative to cigarettes, but doctors say parents should watch out for this potentially addictive new trend.

“I would think of it just like any other tobacco product and the safest thing to do is not use them,” said Dr. Deepa Camenga, a pediatrician at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

JUUL is a discrete electronic nicotine delivery device that resembled the look of a thumb drive.

"It’s a very attractive looking product," Camenga said. "Kids seem to think its new and trendy and they’re curious to experiment with it." 

While there aren’t specific studies about the long term health effects of
"JUULing," Camenga said there is emerging evidence regarding the risks of similar e-cigarettes.

"There’s pretty good evidence to show kids who use these nicotine delivery devices have a higher risk of starting cigarette smoking and we have a lot of evidence about the risks of cigarette smoking," she said.

Camenga said it is concerning that teens have an easier time getting their hands on JUUL than traditional tobacco products.

"There’s some recent research showing that kids are able to purchase electronic nicotine delivery devices online and it shows up at their door without any proof of age," she said.

Tracy Yentsch from North Haven has two boys in high school.

"They’re pretty against smoking in general," Yentsch said. "I haven’t really had to have that conversation with them maybe now you brought it up I need to."

School should start educating students about these new potentially addictive products, Yentsch said.

"It should probably be part of the curriculum when they’re talking about drugs and alcohol," she said.

The bottom of the JUUL website includes a nicotine addiction warning and it says this product is not for sale for minors.

The company sent NBC Connecticut the following statement: 

"At JUUL Labs, we take the prevention of underage use very seriously. Minors should not use any nicotine product, including ours. JUUL was created for adult smokers of legal age only and we strive to keep our product out of the hands of minors. Recent science raises concerns about the adverse effects of nicotine on adolescent neurodevelopment. For more information on the steps we're taking at JUUL Labs to prevent underage use, please visit our website."

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