JUULing, vaping, e-cigs oh my!! Vaping and more specifically JUULing is the latest trends taking over middle schools and high schools.
In 2018, over 20% of high school students reported having used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. When high schoolers were asked what they believed was in the last product they vaped, most said “just flavoring” according to a recent study performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In reality, E-juice contains harmful chemicals like diacetyl, which has been linked to a serious lung disease, benzene-which is found in car exhaust, heavy metals, and of course nicotine. Scientists are still working to understand more fully the health effects and harmful doses of e-cigarette contents when they are heated and turned into an aerosol.
Since it came on the market in 2015, JUUL has taken over and is now responsible for 70% of the e-cig market. They look like a cool tech gadget, they have fun flavors and they are easy for kids to get ahold of, despite the legal age being 18. JUUL devices are especially hard to detect because they closely resemble a USB drive and have virtually an odorless vapor, making them easy for kids to hide from parents and teachers.
We all know that smoking cigarettes is bad for you and causes cancer, but is vaping/JUULing is really that bad? While these things are dangerous for adults, they especially harmful for youth and young adults. Teenage brains are still developing, so they’re uniquely vulnerable to addiction. Nicotine in adolescence has been shown to have long-term impacts on brain development. It may affect teens behavior, concentration, memory and their ability to learn. Nicotine can contribute to future cardiovascular disease and increase the risk of a teen trying alcohol or other drugs. Nicotine itself is also a highly addictive drug, which explains why a significant proportion of teens who have never smoked a cigarette or who never intended to smoke a cigarette end up smoking after using e-cigarettes like JUULs.
Contrary to popular belief, vaping is not actually vapor but an aerosol produced by the chemicals in e-juice. Think of hairspray, if you were to go into my bathroom you would unfortunately find a layer of hairspray on every surface because the higher the hair the closer to God, right? Just kidding. But the concept is the same when the aerosol enters the user’s lungs it leaves behind chemical residues on the user’s lungs.
It is important that you talk to your child about this new trend. Here is a link to a parent tip sheet to help you start a conversation with your child on the real danger vaping and JUULing