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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers: E-Cigarette Use Among Teens May Be Higher Than Previously Thought

Recent Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies research found that the electronic cigarette (or e-cigarette) brand Juul, is by far the most commonly used brand among New Jersey (NJ) high school e-cigarette users, with some Juul users not even considering themselves e-cigarette users.

The ubiquity of the term “Juuling” has created challenges for measuring e-cigarette use. The researchers added Juul specific questions to the 2018 NJ Youth Tobacco Survey and found higher estimates of use when Juul was included in the operational definition of e-cigarette use. In some cases, the addition of the Juul specific question resulted in meaningful increases in estimates, particularly for female and Black students. For example, e-cigarette prevalence nearly doubled among Black students when Juul use was included.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, suggests that health officials might be underestimating the prevalence of teen e-cigarette use.

“We’ve suspected that Juul contributed to the increase of e-cigarette use among teens, but I think we were surprised at the extent of the brand’s popularity among young people,” said Dr. Mary Hrywna, an assistant professor, who co-authored the study with Dr. Michelle B. Manderski, a lecturer, and Dr. Cristine Delnevo, professor and director of the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies.

Researchers found that current and frequent e-cigarette use was highest among 12th graders and one out of 10 high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes on 20 or more days in the 30 days preceding the survey.

“This pattern of heavy use is consistent with nicotine addiction,” Dr. Delnevo said. “It’s however not surprising given the high nicotine delivery of Juul.”

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