It is widely understood in Tennessee and elsewhere that smoking cigarettes is harmful to one’s health. And while smoking tobacco products has declined across the general population in recent years, a new trend is causing concern regarding increased nicotine dependency, particularly in young people. The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) is on the rise among middle and high school students, and they are considered dangerous products. The most popular forms of ENDS are known as vapes and JUULs. JUUls in particular are a concern because they are very small, about the size of a thumb drive, and produce little steam making them easy to conceal, even in the classroom.
ENDS were initially promoted as a tool to help one quit smoking and were considered safer than cigarettes. However, people using ENDS frequently continue to smoke cigarettes. ENDS contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Nicotine has been shown to be dangerous to young developing brains. As a result of recent studies, it is believed that young people who use JUUL products run a greater risk of becoming future smokers than young people who abstain from them.
JUUL has been accused by the FDA of marketing to young people because of the flavored pods that it sold. Flavors such as bubble gum and creme brulee were thought to be targeted toward the young. JUUL pulled those items from retail establishments such as gas stations and convenience stores and made them only available in specialty stores that require proof of age. They also tightened up the on-line age verification process.
A survey taken in 2018 by the National Youth Tobacco Survey found that one in 20 middle school students and one in five high school students had used an ENDS product in the 30-day period preceding the survey. That represented an increase of 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle school students over the previous year. It may be too soon to understand all of the long term ramifications of ENDS products. A person who believes he or she, or a loved one, has suffered adverse effects from such dangerous products in Tennessee may want to consult with a personal injury professional.