Technology has teenagers getting hooked
FREMONT–An e-cigarette with twice the nicotine of comparable devices is taking over high schools and parents need to sound the alarm.
The JUUL, pronounced “jewel,” which began appearing in 2015 as an alternative to combustible cigarettes was supposed to help adults stop smoking. It sets itself apart from other e-cigarette devices with its unique closed system technology, attractive flavor offerings and sleek design, all of which are even more attractive for a younger audience.
Not to be confused with a flash drive, which it resembles, the JUUL contains an elongated vaporizer that attaches to a disposable pod filled with a salt-based nicotine e-liquid formula. Users simply place their lips to the pod alternatively used as the mouthpiece and inhale. The device then heats up to vaporize the liquid. The electronic cigarette offers an additional convenience as it can be charged by plugging into a computers USB drive.
Health experts are warning people not to be seduced by its attractive packaging.
“The JUUL and other addictive vape pens could be creating a new generation of youth and young adults who are dependent on nicotine,” explains Sally Wagoner, RN, tobacco treatment specialist at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial. “Each disposable pod contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes, with a concentration of 59 mg/mL. When this is encompassed with the attractive design and flavors like crème brulee and fruit medley, youth and young adults who had no interest in smoking are now starting to pick up the habit and get addicted.”
JUULing is the newly coined term that has teenagers and young adults using the device for a five-minute buzz to stay alert and entertained. The powerful device along with its ease of use and ability to conceal can be used indoors without attracting unwanted attention or creating an odor, even in the middle of a classroom full of students.
The problem has grown widespread enough that some school districts have begun amending school policies to address the issue.
While e-cigarettes contain fewer toxic substances than traditional cigarettes, vaping may still expose people to cancer-causing chemicals. According to a study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, teenagers need to be warned that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is not harmless water vapor. Some chemicals found in users of e-cigarettes included acrolein, used in chemical weapons and acrylonitrile which has been possibly related to brain and breast cancer.
Wagoner advises adults to talk with teenagers and young adults about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
If you need help with starting the conversation about e-cigarettes or are looking to quit, call 231.924.7589.