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Pod-based E-cigarette Devices: Get the Facts

Pod-based e-cigarette devices, are fourth generation e-cigarettes that have become very popular in recent years, especially among young people. Examples include JUUL, Suorin, Phix, Stig, and Smok.

Using pod-based e-cigarettes can put kids' health at risk in several ways.

How are pod-based e-cigarettes different from other e-cigarettes?

There are many different types and forms of tobacco products on the market today. Pod-based e-cigarette devices look the most different from traditional cigarettes. Small and sleek, these products can look a lot like a computer flash drive or pen. This makes it tricky for adults to recognize them right away as vaping tools. Pod-based e-cigarette devices are easy to hide in a fist or a pocket. They can even be plugged into a laptop's USB slot to recharge.

How do pod-based e-cigarette devices work?

Pod-based e-cigarette devices are battery operated. They work by heating a pod of e-liquid or "juice" that contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. When heated, the liquid creates an aerosol or vapor that users inhale.

Why should parents be concerned about pod-based e-cigarette devices?

  • These devices come in flavors that appeal to kids. For many years, tobacco companies have used candy-like flavors to attract young people to smoke. A recent federal ban on flavors still excludes mint and menthol flavors. Furthermore, this ban excludes disposable devices (for example, Puff Bars). Disposable pod-based devices are sold in a variety of appealing flavors, are relatively inexpensive, and are increasingly popular with teens. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research, middle and high-school students say that flavor is a big reason they use e-cigarettes.

  • They are even more addictive than other types of e-cigarettes. Pod-based e-cigarette devices contain nicotine salts, which are designed to deliver more than twice the amount of nicotine compared to other e-cigarettes. Nicotine is the chemical that causes addiction. These high amounts are a serious concern for youth, who are already more likely than adults to become addicted to nicotine. The chance of addiction is so high that the U.S. Surgeon General has warned that the use of nicotine by youth in any form is unsafe.

  • Pod-based e-cigarettes raise the risk of becoming a regular cigarette smoker. Research shows that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to begin using traditional tobacco cigarettes.

  • Using these devices are common in schools and college campuses. Teachers report that students are using pod-based e-cigarettes in classrooms, hallways, and school restrooms. They also share the devices with friends. This kind of social use encourages kids who don't smoke to try e-cigarettes. It also lets students who are too young to buy e-cigarettes legally, or who could not otherwise afford them, use them through classmates.

Protecting children and adolescents from the harms of e-cigarettes

Pediatricians are particularly concerned about the threats to child and adolescent health posed by e-cigarettes, including heightened risk of nicotine-dependence and other health concerns related to vaping. The American Academy of Pediatrics has joined with other organizations to urge the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to take immediate action to protect children and teens from e-cigarettes. We continues to work with families and policymakers to help make sure that these devices are kept out of the hands of children.

More information

Last Updated
AAP Section on Tobacco Control and AAP Julius B. Center of Excellence (Copyright ©2018 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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