Guest column/Juul pulled from shelves because of questions about toxicity

Vaping. We have talked about this topic a number of times because so many people believe vaping is harmless water vapor and a way to stop smoking tobacco. Neither is true.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ordered Juul to stop selling e-cigarettes in this country. The FDA website advises that “On June 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit entered a temporary administrative stay of the marketing denial order for Juul Labs Inc.,” and stated that all Juul products must be removed from the U.S. market.

The company has failed to provide sufficient evidence about the toxicity profiles. Data is “insufficient” and “conflicting” related to DNA or chromosomal damage and chemicals that are potentially harmful possibly leaching from the e-liquid pods. The FDA can’t complete a full toxicological risk assessment, the FDA says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes to the bottom line on the risks of e-cigarettes for kids, teens and young adults.

• They are unsafe.

• Most contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development.

• They contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.

• Teens who use them are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.

• Outbreak of lung injury is associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products.

• The aerosol produced is not harmless water vapor.

• Bystanders also are exposed to the harmful chemicals.

• E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver other drugs … like marijuana.

The CDC advises that “news outlets and social media sites report widespread use of Juul by students in schools, including in classrooms and bathrooms.”

Juul is shaped like a USBN drive.

It uses battery power to heat a liquid containing nicotine that makes a vapor that is inhaled. A single Juul pod contains the equivalent of a pack of 20 cigarettes. Juul always contains nicotine.

Nicotine can harm parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control, advises the CDC. Nicotine used in adolescence also can lead to addiction to other drugs in the future.

When one stops using nicotine they do go through withdrawal: They become irritable, restless, anxious or depressed, they have trouble sleeping, they have difficulty concentrating and crave nicotine. Although youth might vape to cope with stress, the nicotine can cause stress. Quitting smoking is associated with lower levels of anxiety, depression and stress, the CDC says.

Also noted is a more positive mood and improved quality of life.

There is still much to learn about these products. Knowing that vaping can lead to burned cigarette use is a warning. Burned cigarettes “kill half of all people who smoke long term.”

There are much more positive ways to cope with stress and anxiety.

Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The goal is for the health and well-being of all.

For information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact the center at 1010 N. Sixth St., Steubenville; by phone at (740) 283-4946; by e-mail at info@familyrecovery.org; or visit the website at familyrecovery.org. Family Recovery Center is funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Brownfield is a publicist at the Family Recovery Center.)


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