Juul is going viral on college, high school, and even middle school campuses, and parents need to know about it. Juul is a specific brand of e-cigarettes that is enticing lots of teens, and it’s attractive for very specific reasons. Here are some key points you need to know about Juul and why it may pose a risk to your teen.
Juul doesn’t come with a stigma.
“At least I don’t vape!” Have you ever heard something like this from your child? You might be surprised how kids stereotype others who use e-cigarettes. Vaping comes with a certain stigma, and most kids don’t want to be lumped into that category. But that’s not the case with Juul. Today’s teens view Juul as different, so different it’s called juuling rather than vaping. And that vaping stigma? It doesn’t come with juuling. Which means kids don’t feel like juuling will negatively affect their reputation. This means juuling is popular, and kids who don’t fit the typical e-cigarette mold don’t mind being labeled as someone who juules.
Juuling is subtle.
One of the things that makes Juul different from other e-cigarettes is how it looks. The device can easily be hidden in the palm, and it looks more like a USB drive than it does a smoking mechanism. Not only is the device itself subtle, but so is the cloud juulers let off after a puff. It’s small enough to blow into a sleeve and be completely unnoticeable. It’s so subtle in fact, kids are even juuling in class when teachers have their backs turned, and school bathrooms are filled with kids taking hits in the stalls.
Juul comes in compelling flavors.
Juul comes in flavors that are attractive to teens, flavors like mango, fruit medley, cucumber, and crème brulee. And juuling doesn’t give off a smoke smell. In fact, some even say the fruity smelling cloud is pleasant. The FDA is currently researching whether Juul’s marketing is targeted at young people, though the company denies these assertions.
Juul is not for kids.
Juul was designed to help adult smokers have a better alternative to smoking cigarettes. Because e-cigarettes vaporize a nicotine-laced liquid, they do not combust. (Combustion releases cancer-causing carcinogens.) Juul and other e-cigarettes eliminate these carcinogens making them a better alternative for current smokers. The company itself says Juul is not designed for kids, nonsmokers, or former smokers. The nicotine in the product is still highly damaging, particularly to adolescents. It’s also against the law to sell Juul to anyone under the age of 21. Still, teens are managing to purchase Juul by using fake id’s, lying about their age, or finding sources who are willing to sell it to them. Juul may not be for kids, but kids are using it and at astounding levels.
FDA does not regulate Juul in the same manner as cigarettes.
Flavored cigarettes are banned by the FDA because they are too appealing to young people. But since the FDA is not yet regulating e-cigarettes including Juul in the same manner, kids are able to use pleasant tasting and smelling nicotine products. The FDA is currently looking at the issue of flavored Juul and e-cigarettes, and we may see new regulations coming down the pike very soon. But in the meantime, these flavored products appeal to kids, whether that is their intent or not, and are fueling a new generation of addicts. Because…
Juuling is addictive.
Just like any other nicotine product, kids can and do get addicted to Juul. The nicotine content of Juul is surprising – one cartridge contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. And when asked most teens reported that Juul contains nothing other than flavoring. One puff of Juul contains nearly twice the amount of nicotine than other vaping products, and kids are becoming so addicted that some cannot even go an hour without a hit.
It doesn’t stop with Juul.
As if the nicotine usage from juuling was not enough, kids are filling Juul pods with marijuana and other substances that are even more dangerous. Twenty percent of high school students who vape have tried it with marijuana. So kids who begin juuling have a high likelihood of moving on to “harder” drugs.
Your child is not immune to Juuling.
“Not my kid,” you might say. You might not be right. A 2017 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that in the last year 19% of 12th graders had vaped nicotine, 16% of 10th graders had vaped nicotine, and 8% of 8th graders had vaped nicotine. Kids as young as middle school are being suspended for juuling in school, and confiscating Juul is a weekly occurrence for most high schools. And if your child doesn’t Juul, that’s great, but it doesn’t mean they’re safe. Juul is so popular among kids today and even those who don’t want to Juul find it difficult to get away from it. Even the strongest refusals can be worn down in time, so just because a teen doesn’t Juul today doesn’t mean they won’t Juul tomorrow.
What to be on the lookout for.
There are signs you can look for if you suspect your child may be juuling. Signs your kid might be juuling include an increase in thirst, nosebleeds, and more sensitivity to caffeine. If you see these symptoms in your child, talk to them about vaping in general and juuling in particular. Make sure they know what the product is, the chemicals it contains, and the dangers that come from juuling. And even if you don’t see the signs in your child, talk to them anyway.
Lack of knowledge about Juul is one of the most damaging aspects about it for today’s youth. And while government and school officials are trying to eliminate teen juuling, they can never have the impact on your child that you can. Sit down with your teen. Ask what they know about juuling. Share what you have learned here. And help them figure out just what they will do if they are ever offered it.
If your child is juuling, share with them the dangers they are bringing on themselves. Talk to their physician and school staff about the resources available to you. Above all, make sure your child knows what juuling really is. Work with school administrators to put educational programs (such as BASE) in place at your child’s school. G.I. Joe taught our generation that knowing is half the battle. Whether or not that’s true, we suspect most parents would use every tool in their arsenal to keep their children safe and healthy. Knowledge is one of those tools.