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Local Legislators and Political Candidates Meet to Discuss Juuls

"Smoke Free" sign on the MU Campus
Nathan Lawrence/KBIA

Public health professionals spoke to local legislators and political candidates about the new e-cigarette called Juul at a public forum this week.

Panelists at the youth community coalition meeting on Tuesday said that many teens in the area have started using Juuls, despite the fact that they can only be purchased by people over the age of 21 inside Columbia city limits.

Juuls can be particularly dangerous because many of the users do not know what is truly being used with the product.

“One of the things that is most concerning is that there was a national survey that found 63 percent of Juul users, did not know that the product always contains nicotine,” said Jenna Wintemberg, a certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist.

Panelists said teaching young people about the dangers of nicotine consumption is incredibly important to stopping the habits before and after they start.

“Education and prevention really go hand in hand together. Educating the youth that Juul products and e-cigarettes in general are very, very addictive. They do contain nicotine the majority of the time—almost all the time they contain nicotine,” said Sarah Varvaro, a health educator at the Columbia County Department of Public Health.

State representatives and senators, as well as others running for office this fall attended the forum. Panelists stressed that they hoped the state legislature will consider policies for e-cigarettes.