JUUL once dominated the U.S. vaping market and was particularly popular among teenagers. But by the time the company pulled its flavored vapes off the market under pressure from federal authorities that criticized the company’s marketing to youth, young vapers had already turned their sights to newer, disposable products.
“JUUL is almost old school,” Meredith Berkman, co-founder of the advocacy group PAVE (Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes) told NPR. “It’s no longer the teen favorite.”
Teens are turning to disposable brands like Puff Bar, Stig and Viigo — brands that have risen in popularity since earlier this month, when the Trump administration’s partial ban on flavored vapes went into effect. The ban, enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), outlaws all flavored vapes and e-liquids except menthol and tobacco flavors. The agency is also cracking down on vape manufacturers who sell and market their products to teens.
But the flavored vape ban does not apply to disposable products, a loophole that youth quickly discovered.
Reuters University’s Center for Tobacco Studies Director Cristine Delnevo and collaborators documented the swift change in vape preferences among teenagers in a paper published in the journal Tobacco Control. In it, the authors said that in the spring of 2019, they found a surge of comments on Reddit threads about disposable “pod-mods.”
“Comments focused on tasting similar to JUUL flavors, lasting longer than a JUUL pod and having a good ‘hit’ like a JUUL,” the article stated.
These disposable, flavored e-liquids mask the bitter taste of tobacco and nicotine, and enable users to take deeper inhalations to get more of the addictive chemical into their lungs. And while it is still unlawful for vape manufacturers to market the disposable vapes to teens, they continue to stay on the market due to the loophole.
“It’s a bit of a game of whack-a-mole,” Delnevo told NPR. “So when policies are aimed at one product, another product pops up to fill the void.”
Beasley Allen lawyers Andy Birchfield, Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are handling cases involving injuries related to vaping. We are looking at cases involving adolescent addiction and injuries including seizures, strokes, lung problems, and cardiovascular problems related to the use of JUUL vaping devices. The vape litigation team also is representing school systems nationwide in their efforts to battle the vaping epidemic.