e-cigarettes that resemble flash drives cause concern
JUUL brand e-cigarettes reportedly used by youth in Rhinelander
FOR THE STAR JOURNAL
There is a new tobacco product on the scene, and the Oneida County Health Department is warning parents to be on the lookout. JUUL e-cigarettes are small and resemble a USB flash drive, which health officials say makes them easy to hide from parents and teachers.
They can reportedly be charged in a computer just like a flash drive, so students could have them in the classroom without the teacher knowing. In a press release dated Feb. 1, Community Health Specialist Corie Zelazoski said the Rhinelander FACT group, which is an advocacy group that educates peers on the dangers of tobacco and nicotine replacement products, have said these products are being used by youth in our community.
Zelazoski stated that one of the most concerning things about these products is they are marketed as safe and directly at young people. She added that the “industry uses flavors like cool mint, fruit medley and crème bruule as a successful strategy in getting youth to use new tobacco products.”
A JUUL company spokesperson said in response that JUUL “strongly condemns” the use of its product by minors, and its intended use is to offer adults a “better alternative to “combustible cigarettes.”
“Our goal is to further reduce the number of minors who possess or use tobacco products, including vapor products, and to find ways to keep young people from ever trying these products, We approach this with a combination of education, enforcement, technology and partnership with others who are focused on this issued, including lawmakers, educators and our business partners,” stated a company spokesperson.
“We encourage parents to talk with their children about the dangers of nicotine. As a company we also continuously seek ways to contribute to this dialogue and knowledge base.”
Zelazoski further stated that flavored tobacco products are often the very first tobacco product a young person tries. Statistically, that is true for at least 80 percent of kids who have used tobacco. In addition, two out of three young tobacco users say they use tobacco products because “they come in flavors I like.” https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobaccoischanging/know-issues.htm
Wisconsin recently launched a new campaign called “Tobacco is Changing” to raise awareness of how candy flavors and deceptive packaging are successfully luring kids into a lifetime of addiction. The Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition (NWTFC) and the Rhinelander FACT group are committed to educating parents, teachers, youth, and community members on the dangers of these products.
More information about the Tobacco is Changing campaign and local tobacco prevention efforts can be found at tobaccoischanging.com. More information about JUUL can be found at juullabs.com.