LETTER: The Juul — what a maelstrom!

Published 12:21 pm Thursday, July 23, 2020

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When historians look back on the first quarter of the 21st century, the Juul vaping e-cigarette will be one of the Top 10 inventions of the era.

In the past, I’ve written about how “cool” the product is, and for immature individuals — America’s teens — it is an addictive trap.

The individuals who designed the Juul knew exactly what they were doing. Now, I’ll grant them a caveat. Since all workplaces are combustible tobacco-free environments, the inventors wanted to create something that could deliver a disguised “hit” of nicotine without an individual having to trek a quarter mile to a designated smoking area.

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The Juul is like the Derringer pistol. It’s small. It can be palmed, hidden and is potentially deadly.

And, yes, the creators of the Juul had to know that it would become a favorite product for teens.

This is not a bold opinion on my part.

Every manufacturer of any new product always “beta tests” their product before they bring said product to the marketplace.

Somewhere in the Juul Labs corporate files are records of their beta testing results, and the test results, if they were publicly available, would reveal the percentages — by age groups — of individuals that liked or disliked the Juul.

Right now, the public and, of course politicians, are clamoring to ban the Juul.

Guess what? It can’t be banned because Juul Labs jumped through all of the federal hoops and legally obtained the necessary FDA product approval.

If it somehow would be banned, the all vaping products would be prohibited. The Juul has been approved as a smoking cessation tool. If all vape products were eliminated, our society would be back to square one. Only combustible nicotine products could be legally sold in the marketplace.

It’s that’s not a “Catch 22,” I don’t know what is.

We’ve been down the banning route before. It was called Prohibition in the last century.

Here in Kentucky, school boards are now joining lawsuits against Juul Labs. I’m quite certain other national locales are doing the same, and of course, the lawsuits are being filed by lawyers who are working on a contingency basis. These lawsuits are an exercise in futility.

Finally, the FDA has banned all of Juul’s “fruity” flavoring in any vaping products. The only flavor now permitted — other than the traditional tobacco flavor — is menthol.

When I reached out to a local school board member about school employees being more practice on school property — at the middle and high school facilities — I was patronized.

My suggestion of actions like removing bathroom stall doors, positioning teacher aides in restrooms and other known hiding places and having in service days devoted to vaping education fell upon deaf ears.

The thing about America is that our country was founded as a “republic.” Each state has its own entity. So, Kentucky’s governor, at the end of 2019, raised the purchase age of combustible and vaping nicotine products to 21 years old.

Following suit at the end of of 2019, President Donald Trump signed into law legislation that did the same throughout all 50 states.

Unfortunately, you can make book that right now, makers of counterfeit IDs are busy manufacturing new fake documents while drug dealers have become chemists and are adept at recharging empty Juuls with THC and fentanyl.

Every employee of every middle and high school are the de facto parents of our Jessamine County school kids. Off school grounds, and once the students exit the school bus, the responsibility of the students’ behavior reverts back to the parents or guardians.

If JCPS employees can’t accept this concept and responsibility, then perhaps they should consider another career.

Robert Buchholz

Jessamine County