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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Several Juul e-cigarette cartridges are being pulled from stores.
But many teenagers seem to believe vaping is safe, even with more and more medical evidence saying otherwise.
Juul is so popular it’s become a verb, Juuling. But now the company has announced that it will no longer take retail orders for certain flavors.
In a statement, the company says: “We certainly don’t want youth using the product. It is bad for public health.”
The CDC saying 60 percent of students will try vaping by the 12th grade.
Pulmonologist Dr. Tariq Cheema, the director of the Breathing Disorder Center with Allegheny Health Network, says the public health problem is real.
“I’ve seen a lot of asthma exasperations from vaping, so kids come in wheezing, with shortness of breath, coughing, and in my opinion, it’s caused by the vaping itself,” Dr. Cheema said.
Dr. Cheema is urging parents to be on alert for the tame-looking, popular e-cigarette pods, which often initially bypass parental supervision. They look like a USB, and charge like one, but Dr. Cheema says they aren’t tame at all.
“Some vaping devices will have high nicotine, some don’t, some put substitutes in there, and it’s anybody’s guess what’s in there. There’s some companies now that actually put it on the label, but like I said, we don’t know the long-term effects,” Dr. Cheema said.
Long-term effects like “popcorn lung”, which is difficult to diagnosis, but mimics COPD.
The chemicals formaldehyde and diacetyl, which was banned from use in flavoring popcorn after cases of irreversible lung disease in popcorn factory workers, have also been found in the flavoring of e-liquid cigarettes.
“There is 15 or 16 times as much formaldehyde in the Juul product as there is in a common cigarette. The problem is it leads to a popcorn lung type effect,” said lawyer Eric Chaffin, of Chaffin and Luhana.
Local law firm Chaffin Luhana says they are getting calls from families all over the United States, and the stories are alarming.
“Kids that are so addicted to Juuling that they are waking up at night with it, they’re afraid to go to sleep without their Juul around. We hear from principals, for example, that are saying that the kids in their school it’s an epidemic with them,” said Chaffin.
Juul has also eliminated its social media accounts. Facebook and Instagram are gone, but Twitter regimens. Critics say these changes aren’t enough and the potential fallout for kids has only just begun.
The FDA commissioner says one company’s voluntary action is no substitute for regulatory steps the FDA is soon expected to take.