Juul, the 'iPhone of e-cigarettes' (1) maintains that its flavoured 'vapes' are safe to use in the UK, despite concerns over a 'mysterious lung illness' that has led to over 20 deaths and more than a thousand medical cases in the US. (2)
Seen as an alternative to cigarettes, Juul insists its target market is smokers trying to quit, but this has not stopped accusations that it has been targeting young people with its fruity flavoured vapes. (3) (The proportion of young people who have not smoked, but vaped has increased in the UK.) (4)
Juul was worth more than $38 billion dollars at the start of the year, (5) with 'to juul' a verb in high schools across America, where vaping has reached epidemic proportions. (6) Efforts have begun to curb the company's influence on teenagers.
A ban on flavoured e-cigarettes has been announced in the USA (7) and India(8) with both Scotland (9) and Ireland (10) drawing up their own measures.
Juul, using its own research conducted by the Centre for Substance Use Research in Glasgow, found that non-tobacco flavours helped smokers move away from cigarettes by 30%. (11) While their evidence may suggest that vaping helps long-term smokers break the habit, the question of whether vaping is safe is another matter.(12)
Public Health England has insisted that vaping is 95% safer than smoking and that the 'mysterious lung illness' is largely linked to the vaping of cannabis substances. (13) But only time will tell the effect that vaping has on its users, and whether this vaping controversy evaporates into thin air. (14)
Review by Oluwatosin Oyeniyi, CMF Editorial Assistant