by Joshua Mendez
Today, vaping among young adults has become an epidemic.
Vaping is done through an electronic cigarette, which is a battery-operated device that emits doses of vaporized nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, which the user inhales.
A fairly new product known as JUUL, which was originally intended to be a smoke alternative for adult cigarette smokers, is putting our generation at risk of nicotine dependence and future cigarette use if we continue to go down this path.
The JUUL is made up of two components: the electronic cigarette itself, which holds the battery and temperature control system, and the “pod” which consists of e-liquid. E-liquid is made up of nicotine, glycerol, benzoic acid, propylene glycerol, and flavorants.
JUUL’s are new electronic cigarettes that have become popular among young adults. According to truth initiative, ”The popularity of JUUL among youth has helped the product capture more than half of the entire e-cigarette market share in just two years.”
The goal of JUUL’s are to deliver nicotine to produce a similar sensation that one would receive after smoking a cigarette, but without the tobacco and carcinogen-loaded smoke, which is why they are generally thought of as a safer alternative. Even though they aren’t as toxic as regular cigarettes, you’re still inhaling a lot of chemicals–especially if the vapor has flavoring agents, which can lead to asthma or other lung conditions.
Many people assume that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to regular cigarettes but aren’t fully aware of the ingredients they consist of.
JUULpod Basics explains, “we currently do not offer non-nicotine options,” but this isn’t something that all JUUL users know; in fact, most of the youngest JUUL users are unaware that every JUUL pod consists of the addictive chemical nicotine.”
According to truthinitiative.org,a Tobacco Control study showed that “63 percent of young JUUL users between 15 and 24 years old did not know that the product always contains nicotine.”
This proves that many of the young users, who are at the greatest risk of becoming addicted and life-long users, are doing so out of ignorance. They might think they’re choosing a safe alternative to smoking, but they are unaware of how harmful this product actually is.
According to Farber from BuzzFeed News, “E-cigs might be safer than the most toxic delivery method for nicotine, combustible cigarettes, but they are in no way safe. And it’s never just ‘vapor’ you are inhaling — it’s vapor plus irritants and toxins and nicotine.”
JUUL’s deliver a potent dose of nicotine with each inhale and could potentially be just as addictive as traditional cigarettes.
The amount of nicotine in each pod is 0.7mL, which is equivalent to the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes. The Juul delivers very strong doses of nicotine which can lead to many young adults becoming addicted. Nicotine dependence is a real problem.
Nicotine can cause immediate harmful side effects on young people’s developing brains and bodies. The head of the Food and Drug Administration claims, “nicotine in these products can rewire an adolescent’s brain, leading to years of addiction.”
This epidemic has school officials looking for new solutions to prevent students from vaping on and off school grounds. Principal Haviland explained, “as we are learning about the product, we are taking the information and educating kids and parents. In fact, we had our first parent-teacher organization meeting (recently) here at the school where we had people from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and the Seven Hills Behavioral Health Organization out of New Bedford come in and give a presentation for about 50 parents on the dangers of vaping.”
Additionally, Principal Haviland reported that the school also hosted a presentation called “Hidden in Plain Sight,” which he said shows just how creative young adults are getting at hiding their product. He explained, “this speaks to a bigger issue because kids are using vape devices, like JUULs, at a higher rate now more than ever.”
Because of this higher rate, and the fact that many students are unaware of the dangers of using these products, Mr. Haviland said that the school has changed their approach when it comes to discipline.
“We are no longer just suspending kids outright,” Mr. Haviland said. “As a consequence of the issue, now we have an education program that kids have to go through before returning to class.”
Education may be a key solution in preventing ignorant adolescents from using vaping devices and risking the inevitable outcome of becoming addicted.
It is best to avoid using or completely stop using this product if you already have used it, due to the many known and unknown dangers that come with the use of this product. If you haven’t started vaping, don’t start. And, if you do vape, quitting now will save you years of nicotine dependence down the road.