2018-01-09 / Academics

Teens Are Turning to E-Cigarettes, Vapes, Juuls - Without Knowing the Consequences

By Rosie Cunningham

E-Cigarettes, Juuls and “vapes” are becoming a phenomenon that many students and kids under the age of 18 are turning to.

In speaking to a number of students who use Juuls and vapes, it is evident that kids who smoke liquid nicotine do not relate the practice with the dangers of cigarette smoking.

The Juul is appealing, in part, because it looks like a USB flash drive, and is so small and unassuming that parents may not even know what they are.

E-cigs may not contain real smoke, but they can still do a number on your lungs -they do cause an inflammation and it would be similar to smoking and you might get a chronic cough.

Electronic cigarettes are devices that utilize stored electricity to heat a liquid into vapors, which are then inhaled by the user. The liquid can be anything from a flavored water-type mixture to liquid nicotine to THC, the principal active element of marijuana.

According to a student who was recently caught using a Juul in a Delaware County school, the flavors taste good and you can even do “tricks” - exhaling the vapor, then breathing it back in, which causes the users a “head rush.”

On July 25, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation banning the use of electronic cigarettes on all public and private school grounds in New York state.

“Nicotine use in any form has shown to be damaging to teens and this measure will close a dangerous loophole that allows e-cigarettes to be used in New York schools,” Cuomo said in a release. “This measure will further this administration’s efforts to combat teen smoking in all its forms and help create a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

Prohibiting electronic cigarettes on school grounds will diminish youth access to electronic cigarettes and bolster New York’s commitment to preventing childhood and teenage smoking. “School grounds” include any building, structure and surrounding outdoor grounds contained within a public or private preschool, nursery school, elementary, or secondary school property, and any vehicles used to transport children or school personnel.

Senator Patty Ritchie said, “Keeping our youth safe is a top priority, and by banning e-cigarettes on all school grounds, the governor is helping in our efforts to establish healthier, stronger communities for our children to learn, grow and excel in. I am proud to support this new legislation to ban these toxic habits, as we protect the well-being of the next generation of leaders for the Empire State.”

Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal said, “School yards should be full of the laughter of healthy children, not e-cigarette vapor. Banning e-cigarette use on school grounds statewide will help reduce e-cigarette use rates among our young people and will protect the health and safety of their growing bodies. New York has taken the lead in protecting people against the dangers associated with e-cigarette use and exposure. I applaud the Governor for signing this legislation and look forward to this ban being expanded to include all public indoor spaces.”

A survey released by the New York State Department of Health, which found that ecigarette use by high school students nearly doubled in the last two years, from 10.5 percent in 2014 to 20.6 percent in 2016. Additionally, a recent U.S. Surgeon General’s report shows the number of high school students using e-cigarettes soared 900 percent between 2011 and 2015, becoming the most commonly used form of nicotine among youths.

Electronic nicotine and vapor delivery systems, which include e-cigarettes, vaping pens, e-hookah and similar devices, typically contain nicotine. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and harm the developing adolescent brain.

A Juul “starter” kit costs $49.99 if you buy it online from the company. It includes a rechargeable Juul device, a USB charger, a warranty, and a four pack of the flavored Juul pods. On its website, the company promises a “powerful vapor experience” and says the nicotine in one pod is approximately equivalent to a whole pack of cigarettes, “or 200 puffs.”

A banner across the top of the website clearly states that its products are for those 21 and older, and would-be purchasers are alerted that an adult must sign for delivery.

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