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What Parents Need to Know About Juuling

Smoking remains a major health concern across the globe -- and younger users are being attracted because of newer devices like vape pens.

The JUUL (pronounced like "jewel") markets itself as "the first viable alternative for adult smokers." The device itself looks unassuming, much like a USB drive.

The device is available in most places one would buy other tobacco products or vape devices, as well as online. The JUUL retails for about $50.

In April, the FDA cracked down on the sale of the JUUL and other vaping devices to young people. The Washington Post reports that the agency sent 40 warning letters related to the JUUL. The manufacturer has a page on its site dedicated to youth prevention:

JUUL Labs’ mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to cigarettes. JUUL is not intended for anyone else. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors, and it is in fact illegal to sell our product to minors. No minor should be in possession of a JUUL product.

Our goal is to further reduce the number of minors who possess or use tobacco products, including vapor products, and to find ways to keep young people from ever trying these products. We approach this with a combination of education, enforcement, technology and partnership with others who are focused on this issue, including lawmakers, educators, community leaders and our business partners. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate and engage with parents and educators and encourage them to email us at youthprevention@juul.com.

Dr. Tong writes that a young person's peers can help them reduce tobacco use.
"Almost all smokers first tried using tobacco by 26," Tong writes. "If we can find ways to encourage them to stop smoking before their addictive behaviors become hardwired we have a much better chance of getting ahead of the enticing methods tobacco companies constantly devise to reinforce lifelong use of their products."

Only about five percent of smokers are able to quit on their own, according to Tong.

Aside from strong peer support, Tong writes that alternatives like gum, trail mix, toothpicks, honey sticks and stress balls can be packaged as a "quit kit."