(NewsNation) — Vaping has taken hold of children and teens, over 2 million of whom indulge in the habit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dorian Fuhrman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo on Monday that no amount of nicotine is safe for adolescents with still-developing brains. The CDC says adolescent brain development continues into their early to mid-20s.
“Juul created the youth vaping epidemic,” Fuhrman said of the troubled electronic cigarette maker.
In December, Juul reached settlements covering thousands of lawsuits over its e-cigarettes.
The company faced more than 8,000 lawsuits brought by individuals and families of Juul users, school districts, city governments and Native American tribes. The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Juul rocketed to the top of the U.S. vaping market more than five years ago on the popularity of flavors like mango, mint and creme brulee. But its rise was fueled by use among teenagers, some of whom became hooked on Juul’s high-nicotine pods.
The CDC said besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain “other harmful substances” as well.
Parents, school administrators and politicians largely blamed Juul for a surge in underage vaping, which now includes dozens of flavored e-cigarette brands that are the preferred choice among teens.
Amid the backlash of lawsuits and government sanctions, Juul dropped all U.S. advertising and discontinued most of its flavors in 2019.
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According to the Annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, 14.1% (2.14 million) of high school students reported current e-cigarette use. And 3.3% (380,000) of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use.
Most used flavored e-cigarettes, with fruit flavors being the most popular, followed by candy, desserts or other sweets, according to the CDC.
Most commonly used types of devices:
- E-cigarettes (9.4%)
- Cigars (1.9%)
- Cigarettes (1.6%)
- Smokeless (1.3%)
- Hookahs (1.1%)
- Nicotine Pouches (1.1%)
- Heated Tobacco Products (1.0%)
- Pipe Tobacco (0.6%)
“No amount of nicotine is safe for developing adolescent brain, and this is a generation that would not have smoked cigarettes,” Fuhrman said.
The CDC also said young e-cigarette users “may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.