E-Cigarette Usage Increasing In Teens

Juuls have become one of the most popular forms of electronic cigarettes.  They are hard to detect because they resemble so many common items such as flash drives or lipstick containers.

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Juuls have become one of the most popular forms of electronic cigarettes. They are hard to detect because they resemble so many common items such as flash drives or lipstick containers.

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Throughout time, teens have been tempted with smoking.  In the past, they turned to cigarettes and possibly cigars.  In 2019, teenagers are trying smokeless cigarettes, and unfortunately, many teens, including those at SCHS, are becoming hooked.  

E-cigarettes, juuls, mods, and vape pens are just a few of the smokeless cigarettes that people use. They are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale vapor, which usually contains nicotine.  

More than 460 different e-cigarette brands are currently on the market, but the one that is affecting teens the most is the juul. According to an article published on cnbc.com, juuls now make up 71% of the e-cig market, and unfortunately juuls are worse for one’s health than a regular e-cig because they deliver more nicotine into the human body than e-cigs and regular cigarettes.

Having a way to introduce even larger amounts of nicotine into one’s body is more harmful that one may first believe. Nicotine is almost as addictive as cocaine, and even more addictive than alcohol and anti-anxiety drugs. Teens that are hooked on juuling are unknowingly exposing themselves to unsafe levels of nicotine that can have immediate consequences and long-term health issues.

The high intake of nicotine can cause emotional and physical health issues such as raising the blood pressure and adrenaline levels, increasing heart rate, and elevating the chances of having a heart attack.  

Ms. Kristy Johnson, an English teacher at SCHS, has noticed a dramatic increase with the number of students that are using these new products.  “Students are BRAZEN with smoking and offended if caught as if they should be allowed to do it. Even students who I would never suspect as smokers, are smoking, at school, in class,” she said.   

Another issue with the juuls is that their appearance can make it difficult to detect as a nicotine product. They resemble a flash drive and can be easily hidden from teachers and parents. They are also odorless, which is also leading to more use in schools, including at Scott County High School.

Ms. Johnson explained “They’re disguised as pens, highlighter, lipsticks. As soon as I turn my back, someone is smoking. As soon as I go into the hall for class change, students are smoking. The crazy thing is it really can’t be smelled, so it’s easy to hide.”  

There are many reasons for teens trying juuling besides the ease of being able to hide them.  Coach Franklin Crossman, a health and physical education teacher at SCHS, felt that teens are picking it up because of “easier accessibility. to look cool, and probably because it’s viewed as more socially acceptable than cigarettes and because their marketed towards teens.”         

Schools across the country, not just SCHS, are struggling with the epidemic of electronic cigarette use.  Many schools are struggling to find a reasonable punishment for students caught with juuls, but nothing seems to be decreasing the amount of use in schools.   Assistant Principal Jamie Haywood explained SCHS’s current policy if a student is caught vaping or in possession of one on school property. “If a student is in possession of a nicotine product (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, etc.) the product is confiscated by administration, parents are notified, and the student is to serve one day of ISS. In addition, any nicotine product confiscated will not be returned to a student or family member, no matter the age,” she explained.  

Students are not sure if there is a consequence severe enough that would motivate students to give up these e-cigs.  Sarah (name changed to protect privacy), a current junior at SCHS, didn’t feel that there was much the school could do to reduce the number of students using these products.  She felt the most effective approach would be “If they were just taken off the market. There’s nothing really that the schools can do about it. If administrators take it, students are just going to buy more.”

Crossman believes that “The only way it can be hampered is continual monitoring. It just means schools have to enforce its policy. When there’s not a constant enforcement, students, as humans, will push the boundaries.  I think consistency is the main thing we can do.”