NYU study on JUULing causes students to question their habit


Photo courtesy of JUUL.

Trinity Collins, News Editor

A recent NYU study and various viral text messages allegedly connecting the E-cigarette, JUUL, to cancer, resulted in students nationwide frantically selling or disposing of their JUULs.

“E-cigarette smoke induces DNA damage and reduces DNA repair activity in lung, heart and bladder.  E-cigarette smoke potentially can cause lung and bladder cancer and heart diseases,” Dr. Moon-Shong Tang, the NYU professor of Environmental Medicine and Pathology who conducted the study, said in an interview with the Evanstonian.

The NYU Study, released on Feb. 8, tested the chemical found in E-cigarette smoke on mice which mutated their DNA. The study concluded that E-cigarette smoke “may contribute to lung and bladder cancer, as well as heart disease, in humans.”

It will take numerous other studies, as well as evidence, to clearly state that E-cigarettes cause cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, many mutation in genes are required to cause cancer. Although the connection to cancer is not definite, many students are unwilling to take the risk and are currently disregarding their JUULs.

“It was a big wake up call for me. I sold my JUUL because the costs definitely outweigh the benefits,” a senior male student said.

The reaction here at ETHS mimics that of other colleges. Recently, students have been responding to viral text messages from college students in Iowa such as this one: “Chris’ friend’s friend from college has never smoked weed or cigs but for the past year he has been an addictive JUULer like constantly…was just diagnosed with lung cancer and his lungs are completely black.”

However, it is unlikely that any of these claims have merit. According to Cancer Research, it takes 10-20 years for tobacco smoke to induce cancer in smokers. JUULs do contain different chemicals than of tobacco smoke, yet, cancer takes time to develop after initially exposing bodies to chemicals.

In an interview with The Tab, a spokesman for JUUL has responded to the text messages, calling them “unsubstantiated” and “reckless.” The spokesman also stated that an “independent third-party laboratories have conducted validated analytical tests on the aerosol contents of JUUL and we are excited to present these results within the SRNT scientific forum at the end of this month.”

While the text messages that went viral via social media are unfounded, the NYU study does suggest, but not definitively, that E-cigarettes have the possibility to cause cancer.

“It is a great idea to throw away JUUL. E-cigarette smoke is harmful to human cells to mice and very likely very harmful to young adults,” Tang said.