Juuling has quickly become very popular in our high schools, colleges, and even middle schools. While electronic cigarettes were created to help people quit smoking, in young people they are actually becoming the introduction to tobacco use. Here are some key things to know:
Safer does not equal safe. Yes there are no studies linking e-cigarettes to cancer. Just because e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes does not mean they are safe. They still contain many chemicals that we know are airway irritants and carcinogens. They contain nicotine. We have no long term studies of the safety of e-cigarettes.
Nicotine is addictive. The Juul pods contain the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Some e-cigarettes juice is even stronger. Studies have shown e-cigarette fluid that claims to be nicotine free often contains nicotine. We also know nicotine affects the developing brain leading to difficulties with attention, learning, impulse control, and mood.
Teens are the target of advertisement. Juul, the most common e-cigarette used among teenagers, began advertising on Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter. There is a huge social media presence of Juul and Juul is starting to show up in TV shows and movies. #doitforJuul is a common hashtag that people use to show them using a Juul. This affects teens, even if they do not realize.
People vape a variety of substances. On youtube you can find videos of people using a variety of fluids including caffeine, alcohol, and Marijuana. Anytime someone is breathing in a substance, it is likely to irritate the airwyas. There have even been cases of people dying after vaping synthetic cannabinoid.
Juul use is increasing tobacco use among teens. Starting in the 1990s there was a steady decline in tobacco use among teenagers, reaching as low as 12% of all teenagers ever using tobacco. With the advent of Juul, as many as 35% of teenagers admit to using nicotine containing products. Unfortunately, many of these Juul users go on to smoke traditional cigarettes.
Juul and other ecigarette companies create fruit flavored fluids that appeal to young users. Juul can be easily concealed and has become a trend among high school students. Our teens are getting addicted to nicotine and we must do our best to prevent this!
By Dr. Ashlee Mickelson