Juul: Why a trendy e-cig is causing a social – and public health – commotion | Opinion – PennLive.com

By Amy Lauren Fairchild

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a campaign to discourage e-cigarette vaping.

Amy Lauren Fairchild (The Conversation, photo) 

While it targeted all e-cigarette vaping, the campaign makes a powerful visual reference to Juul, a device that can be recharged in a computer USB drive and has been reported to be gaining popularity among youth, even though Juul Labs created it for adults who want to stop smoking. The HHS campaign depicts seemingly emotionless teenagers with USB ports where their mouths should be.

The campaign is part of a long, successful history of fear-based campaigns that have effectively “denormalized” smoking. But, in the case of Juul, is it a new public health threat? Or is it a disruptive technology that threatens to make combustible tobacco products, which kill half of all smokers, obsolete? In short, could it help or hurt public health?

Harm reduction or harm extension?

I am a public health scholar who has studied the history, ethics and evidence in scientific and policy debates over the value of e-cigarettes as a

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