Back in November 2018 we dove head first into the epidemic that’s sweeping the nation, especially with our teens — juuling. Now, 7 months later, we’re here to investigate where we are as a nation when it comes to juuling. Back in 2018, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb took a powerful stance against the e-cigarette and vaping industry by ordering the removal of most fruity and “tasty” flavors in order to curb the rising number of teens from picking up this new-age smoking issue.
Unfortunately, removing “fun” flavors has not stopped young adults from juuling.
Misconceptions About Juuling & Vaping
Ask a teenager if they vape and their response will likely be no, they juul — marketing at its finest. The reality is that teens feel there is a difference when there isn’t one — juuls, vapes and e-cigarettes are all the same thing.
The other issue? The spread of misinformation. Teens believe that they can smoke as much as they want until they’re 30, and if they quit by that age, they will not face negative health issues. As you can imagine, this is a scary misconception. What teens are also failing to calculate into their equation is how powerful nicotine’s draw is and how difficult it is to break an addiction.
The other misconception teens have is that because you are not lighting something, like you do a cigarette, juuling is significantly safer. The truth is that teens are exposed to more nicotine in one cartridge of juul flavor than they are in a pack of cigarettes. In fact, nearly 60% of teens believe juul cartridges are nicotine-free, when in fact 99% of them are not.
Teens like to believe that juuling and vaping is just as harmless as water vapor rather than accepting that they’re inhaling toxins into the lungs on their way to school, in between classes, at the mall, etc. Many ingredients used in vape cartridges contain harmful ingredients including group 1 carcinogens (the most potent) that can lead to several types of cancers, long-term or even life-long respiratory illnesses and heart disease.
As A Parent, What Can I Do?
Your first step is to debunk these false claims to your children. Open up conversation by asking if they know anyone that juuls in their schools — this is a great conversation starter. This indirect approach has been proven to be more effective than scolding kids on juul use. Remember, you are talking to teens who, in many cases, think they’re invincible. If your teen discusses that others have asked them to juul because it’s “cool”, help them come up with reasons to avoid it including “I have asthma” or “I prefer to stay healthy”.
Aside from this, familiarize yourself with what various juuls and vapes look like, and be on the lookout. If you’re not paying attention, juuls can be very hard to identify or spot.
So Where Are We Now?
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For starters, as of June 25th, 2019, San Francisco has banned the sale of e-cigarettes, vapes and juuls. Given that this is an experimental step toward a vape-free teenage population, we have yet to see how this will impact usage. The concern is that by banning e-cigarettes, the city is also banning products that are thus far known to be products that have helped many break their cigarette addictions.
It seems that we still have a long way to go when it comes to winning the war against teenage vaping.
[Updating Story] Stay tuned for what develops next with this controversial and important trend.