Is your teen “juuling”? This is becoming a popular trend among middle- and high-schoolers in my community. Juul is the name of a brand of e-cigarettes— a form of vaping. The device looks just like a thumb drive and even charges via a USB port. The colorful rectangles in the photo are the flavored pods, filled with a nicotine-containing solution. Each pod has the nicotine equivalent of one pack of cigarettes, and a higher concentration of nicotine than most other vaping methods. Kids (and many parents) think Juuling is safe, as the technology has been marketed for smoking cessation. Since Juuls come in delicious flavors (like mango and creme brûlée), they are popular with kids who would not otherwise smoke. We do not know the long term lung and health consequences of inhaling these chemicals. The teen brain is extremely sensitive to nicotine, creating new nicotine receptors after just a short period of use. This makes teens more susceptible to addiction, and makes quitting harder. There is also evidence that nicotine changes the pathways of serotonin production, which may make users more predisposed to depression. And there is research that suggests that the higher the concentration of nicotine, the more likely teens are to become frequent vapers and frequent smokers. Talk to your kids about the potential health consequences, and let them know that vaping is an example of yet another industry targeting kids and teens in an effort to create life-long customers.
Images from juulvapor.com