Helpful Info About Juuling & Vaping
Helpful Info about Juuling/Vaping
Juuling/Vaping has become one of the biggest issues here at Westerville North and in high schools everywhere, and yet it is one of the most difficult to prevent and stop. The Juul is a popular e-cigarette system consisting of a long, slim vaporizer and disposable “pods” of nicotine juice; the pods come in appealing flavors like mango, cotton candy, and strawberry cream. The device looks much like a USB flash drive and actually charges on a laptop or other USB port. When in use, the Juul heats the nicotine juice to create vapor, which is inhaled by the user. As it is exhaled, the vapor smells sweet and fruity, like a spray or lotion from Bath and Body Works, and the “cloud” dissipates rapidly. These factors - the discrete nature of the device, the sweet smell, and the quick cloud dissipation - make it easy for students to get away with “juuling” or “vaping” wherever, whenever. They can easily hide the “cloud” in a sleeve, hoodie, or other clothing right in class!
Despite their sweet smell and seemingly safe appearance, each Juul pod packs a powerful punch. Each pod contains the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, or 200 puffs. This is more than double that of other vaping products! Sadly, many teenagers are clueless about what they are vaping. In a study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when high schoolers were asked what they thought was in the last e-cigarette product they vaped, most said “just flavoring.” Some teens are filling the pods with other substances, such as liquid THC, which is even more dangerous.
While many believe that Juuls are a safer alternative to cigarettes, no e-cigarette product should ever be considered “safe,” especially not for children and teenagers. Since the still-developing teenage brain is uniquely vulnerable to addiction, and nicotine is very addictive, exposure to nicotine in adolescence can have lasting impacts on brain development. Long-term impact has been shown on memory, behavior, concentration, and ability to learn. Moreover, a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care, demonstrated that adolescents who use e-cigarettes are twice as likely to have respiratory problems such as a bronchitis, congestion, phlegm, and persistent cough as those who do not use.
It is important to start a conversation with your teens about e-cigarettes, whether you suspect they are using them on not. You might start by asking a general, neutral question—“Hey, I just read about this blog post. What have you heard about vaping?”—and see what your teen says. Engage your child in a discussion about the serious health risks of e-cigarettes (phlegm, nosebleeds, lung problems, poor concentration, learning/memory problems, and addiction, etc.). If your child is vaping, let them know your thoughts and concerns about it, and work with them to replace the unhealthy behavior with a positive, healthier alternative. Consider contacting the school for assistance and support.
Theresa Black, LISW-S
School Social Worker
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