A New Study Examines Stealthy Vapor Devices Popular With Youth

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A newly published article examined stealthy vapor devices, as well as low-odor and low-vapor e-juices, via a comprehensive online search between March and June 2018. As evidence of their popularity, a search for ‘stealth vaping’ on YouTube found 18,200 videos. A variety of cleverly designed vapor devices disguised as USB sticks, pens, remote controls, car fobs, smart phones, sweatshirt drawstrings and even asthma inhalers are on the market. JUUL, which resembles a USB stick, is the archetype of these devices and is especially popular among youth. A search of ‘JUUL’ on YouTube yielded 148 000 videos with 57 videos having >100 000 views. Searches on ‘JUUL at school’ (15 500), ‘JUUL in class’ (6840), ‘hiding JUUL in school’ (2030) and ‘JUUL in school bathroom’ (1040) illustrate the product’s popularity among students. Some e-juices promote themselves as having low visibility plumes while others profess to be of subtle odor to avoid detection. Numerous techniques have been described to hide the exhaled vapor plume such as by swallowing it or blowing it into one’s clothing or into a backpack.

The researchers concluded that the vaping industry has demonstrated much ingenuity in devising discreet vaporizers and de-emphasizing exhaled vapor plumes and their aroma. The US market for vaping devices with stealthy characteristics is anything but inconspicuous, with JUUL alone accounting for 70.5% of sales (July 2018).

Source: Ramamurthi et al. (2018). JUUL and other stealth vaporizers: hiding the habit from parents and teachers. Tobacco Control, Sep 15. piitobaccocontrol-2018-054455. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054455. [Epub ahead of print]

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