As Juuls gain popularity, experts reiterate safety concerns of e-cigarettes

Posted on 7 February 2018 at 7:52pm
Story image: As Juuls gain popularity, experts reiterate safety concerns of e-cigarettes

COLUMBIA - Juul is the newest form of e-cigarette and it's popular among young people, but the health risks of vaporizers are still uncertain.

MU student Naomi Hoffner said she sees people smoking Juuls all over campus, at restaurants, bars and even in class.

"I definitely see them more often than I see cigarettes," she said. 

Hoffner said the presence of Juuls came out of nowhere, and suddenly everyone has one. 

The company that makes Juuls says the vaporizers do not contain diacetyl like other e-cigareets, and instead includes chemicals that are used in consumer products like toothpaste. 

Tiffany Bowden, the wellness coordinator at the Wellness Resource Center, said Juuls are a relatively new product, but they seem to operate in the same way as other e-cigarettes.

"What we do know from preliminary research is that e-cigarettes are definitely not harmless products," Bowden said. 

She said some research indicates they are as harmful as cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are similar to regular cigarettes in some ways.

"There are still harmful chemicals that are brought into the body and to the mouth and lungs from e-cigarettes," said Kevin Everett, an associate professor of family and community medicine. 

Everett said vaporizers have not been around long enough to know how much use it takes to cause any problems. 

He said e-cigarettes bring heavy metals into the body, and many of flavorings contain diacetyl, which causes cancer.

Everett said some of the chemicals used in vaporizers are safe when based on food standards, but they have not been tested when burned at high temperatures and turned into vapor. 

"There is no knowledge of how harmful that can be, large quantities of that going deep inside the lungs."