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Social media offer insights into teen Juul use, popularity

Run down tweets and monitoring chat groups could shed light on the soaring lionization and use of the flash drive-shaped Juul e-cigarette, researchers say.

“Juul has become a cultural sight and has been called the ‘iPhone of electronic cigarettes’ among some usual outlets,” lead study author Ramakanth Kavuluru told Reuters Haleness. “You know it’s a phenomenon when people start dressing up as it for Halloween.”

Although the crest is restricted to ages 21 and older, Kavuluru’s team found by analyzing common media conversations that underage users have ways to buy Juul, and over use the devices secretly at home and at school.

“Juul came onto our radar rearmost fall, and we started tracking it on Twitter, where social media rabbit on among teens is not as inhibited as on Facebook, where their parents may be,” Kavuluru thought in a telephone interview.

Introduced in 2015, Juul is the most popular e-cigarette with scarcely 50 percent market share as of January 2018, the study band notes. Charged via USB, the device comes with disposable pods checking a 5-percent nicotine liquid, with each pod said to be roughly similar to one pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs from traditional cigarettes. Although Juul is advertised for grown-up smokers seeking an alternative to cigarettes, many young people who maintain never smoked have taken to the device.

According to a research the humanities in the journal Tobacco Control, Kavuluru and colleagues analyzed more than 250,000 messages on Chirrup and Reddit between October 2017 and February 2018.

On Twitter, about one-third of the stations were original tweets, and the rest were retweets by others. On this podium in particular, Juul was frequently used as a verb, as in “trying to Juul in the bathroom,” the researchers note.

“It’s an pursuit that people can do together,” Kavuluru said. “It makes them pet like they belong to a group and can relax together.”

Juul intimates were also often associated with school sites and keep secret places in those locations, such as bathrooms, toilets or locker rooms, the researchers establish. Nearly 8,000 tweets mentioned Christmas and Valentine’s Day gifts correlated to Juul, with some users hoping for pods as gifts.

Another just about 1,800 unique tweets contained terms related to nicotine dependence, counting the words crave, addiction, addicted. Several Twitter users praised they were addicted to Juul, often in a light-hearted manner, and others articulate they were glad they’re not addicted.

On Reddit, the research combine found a topical forum, known as a subreddit, with more than 15,000 colleagues discussing Juul-related themes. They also found a group for underage buyers that started in July 2017 and was banned in January 2018. While it lasted, this number’s users messaged about retailers that don’t require age verification, and older alcohols offered “discreet shipping” of the product to teens willing to pay a higher evaluation via online payment sites.

“Although the underage Juul subreddit is banned, there could be other multitudinous private online forums where similar information can be exchanged mass underage users, posing a major challenge for surveillance,” the study founders write. “While it was active, the underage subreddit provided a peek into the inner workings of how popular networks can lead to easier access to tobacco products.”

Based on their four-month try, Kavuluru of the University of Kentucky in Lexington and his colleagues suggest that researchers and regulators can also use group media to study patterns of Juul use and to target public health letters directly to teens.

In late April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration set a crackdown on sales to minors and Juul’s manufacturer announced it would allot $30 million to help develop a framework for research into the well-regulated and social implications of vapor products as well as evaluating technologies to ward youth from accessing and using Juul products.

“The surge in trend happened so quickly that the (FDA) was not able to keep up on research and regulations,” suggested Amanda Morrill, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at MCPHS University in Boston, who was not implicated in the study.

“E-cigarettes are the latest public health risk, and we need to inform high school students about them,” she said in a telephone to. “Anyone using these products now are the guinea pigs as we learn in the next 15-20 years how they exceedingly affect us.”

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