March 20th is known as National Kick Butts Day and this year, advocates are targeting a different product. Gustavo Torrez, Director of Youth Advocacy, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, states that “The amount of nicotine in 1 Juul pod is equivalent to 20 cigarettes, so this is really why we’re raising the awareness.”
In 2018, over 3.6 million students in middle and high school, used e-cigarettes. That means that in one year alone, e-cigarette usage increased by an entire 78%.
Anti-tobacco Youth Advocate, Sachit Gali says, “I see when I go, ya know, even to just the school bathroom. I can smell people juuling, and I can smell the flavors that Juul uses to market to kids.”
Juuls, so far, have already attracted 20.8% of the student population. Some of that popularity comes from the variety of available flavors. Gali claims that he feels that the 15,000 flavors available to the public, like gummy bear and cotton candy, seem to directly target the youth.
As for Torrez, he shared that studies have shown that adolescents that take part in juuling, are at a much higher risk to start smoking traditional cigarettes. This is one of the many reasons why people like Torrez and Gali are hoping to raise the minimum sale age of tobacco to 21.
Torrez concluded the interview with, “I know I have family in Texas and my nieces and nephews talk about the use of Juul in their communities, their schools. So it’s really important that we raise the minimum sale age of tobacco, here in Texas, to really help to create the first tobacco-free generation.”
Advocates are hoping to increase awareness amongst teachers and parents. Additional goals include helping them to recognize that juuls are very similar in appearance to computer flash-drives, and putting a stop to this popular trend in 2019.