AUSTIN, Texas - E-cigarette manufacturer Juul is stopping US sales of its mint pods.
Government research shows Juul is the most popular e-cigarette brand among high schoolers. A recent study by the University of California showed that mint was the most popular flavor among Juul users in 10th and 12th grade and also popular among middle schoolers.
The company is currently facing legal trouble for allegedly targeting minors through marketing. That is one of the reasons Tara Messer, store manager at Vapor Logic Boutique on South Congress, says the shop stopped carrying Juul products.
“It’s like [Juul was] kind of pushing that agenda on the minors,” said Messer, pointing out that Juul's parent company owns cigarette companies such as Marlboro. “We didn’t want to support their agenda.”
The e-cigarette industry spends approximately $125 million every year in advertising, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
“Young adults and teenagers are especially prone to use flavored tobacco products," Stephanie Helfman of Austin Public Health said. "So, any attempt to remove flavors and flavoring is something that could potentially reduce use.”
Helfman says there have been 173 vape-related illnesses in the Lone Star State and 13 in Travis County. She also says roughly one in three teens have reportedly used an e-cigarette.
Austin Public Health just launched a campaign to warn the public of the dangers of e-cigarettes.
“Some of the risks of e-cigarettes are that we don’t even know what the long term health impacts are," Helfman said. "The devices are so new, we’re still learning things. The second thing is nicotine is extremely addictive, and it’s extremely harmful for teenagers and young adults whose brains are still developing.”
Numbers on how many Texans were vaping nicotine as opposed to THC when they fell ill remain spotty. Regardless, Austin Public Health says diacetyl, a common ingredient in e-cigarette, can cause “popcorn lung.” Popcorn lung is the “scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs, which causes thickening and narrowing of airways, leading to wheezing and shortness of breath.”
Messer says Vapor Logic Boutique does not carry products with diacetyl.