Why The Trending E-Cig Raises Concern


A standard Juul

Ina Habin, Staff Writer

Teen cigarette smoking rates are going down. Last December, Monitoring the Future published their findings on national adolescent drug trends in 2017, and according to National Adolescent Drug Trends in 2017, “Cigarette smoking by teens continued to decline in 2017. Since the peak levels reached in the mid-1990s, lifetime prevalence has fallen by 71 percent , 30-day prevalence by 81 percent, daily prevalence by 86 percent, and current half-pack-a-day prevalence by 91% for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Some people believe e-cigarettes may help lower nicotine cravings in those who are trying to quit smoking.” People also say it makes a better alternative for regular cigarettes.

“There are better alternatives for regular cigarettes per say just because it does not cause cancer,” pulmonologist, Dr. Parimal Bharucha explains. Regular cigarettes have certain toxins that can cause cancer and sometimes accidental fires, while e-cigs are mostly nicotine based. “The goal ultimately is to cut down using nicotine replacements. Then, depending on how much you smoke, you can start with that much then cut it down.”

This decline has paved the way to the rise of e-cigarettes. One of the latest brands, JUUL, has become a popular trend among teens.  

However, the problem with JUUL is that it is even more addicting compared to a regular cigarette. The JUUL Labs says on their customer service page that “One JUULpod is approximately equivalent to 1 pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs.”

This makes it more addicting to people who have never smoked before and decide to start with JUUL, which could ironically potentially lead them to start smoking regular cigarettes.

Another problem about JUUL is that it is very discreet, making it very difficult to identify. The pods look like USB drives, the smoke it releases fades away quickly, and it comes in different flavors and aromas like mint, crème brûlée, and mango, which can fool the nose.

“Juul pods are pretty easy to get because so many people sell them or have them,” said a student at Vista del Lago who wished to remain anonymous.

Checking for an ID in-store doesn’t always work because adults who buy JUUL pods can easily sell it to underage kids. “The Food and Drug Administration issued warnings to 40 retail and online stores as part of a month-long operation against illegal sales of JUUL to children. Investigators targeted 7-Eleven locations, Shell gas stations, and Cumberland Farms convenience stores as well as vaping shops,” AP News reported.

But this still hasn’t stopped teens from obtaining JUULs in any way which is evident in the fact that some teenagers even post videos on how to buy, use, and hide a JUUL pod.

Unfortunately, JUUL’s rising popularity and easy access to teens has forged a problem for schools. “Our goal is to educate the students and parents enough of what’s going on,” said Vista del Lago Assistant Principal Jonathan Johnson, “because ultimately all of these things fall into the overview of the individual. You have to make your own choice if you’re going to do it or not.”

Folsom Cordova Unified School District is doing peer-to-peer, school, and community-based outreach with prevention education, increasing access to interventions to tackle the JUUL popularity among youths.