Dangerous Teen Trend

Juuling in school is becoming a larger issue in schools, and have many effects on students. Although students often might disagree that Juuling can be bad for you, it is in more than one way. Socially and physically, Juuling has an impact on individuals. 

Juuls were created with the intentions of being an alternative for adult smokers. Although the alternative itself is not good for someone’s health, it was a way to help adult smokers try and quit. The creators attempted to make the device small and unnoticeable, but this was an outlet for students to hide it more easily during school hours. Students wait for the moment the teachers turn their backs to take a quick hit or even going to the restroom to sneak in a hit.

“It is pretty obvious when a group of people leave the room at the same time and go to the restroom or locker room every single day,” senior Morgan Simpson said.

Nicotine is one of the most addicting substances known, and is harder to beat when you start at a young age. 40 years ago 29% of high school students smoked daily, and in 2015 it was at an all time low of 5.5%. In 2017, 11.7% of high school students reported using a juul. 99% of Juul products contain nicotine. Each Juul has about 200 puffs, having as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Nicotine is at least as difficult as giving up heroin, according to Medical News Today. 

“National statistics say that 1 out of 10 students are Juuling,” student counselor Tina Wohler said, “ I think this is a bigger issue than it has ever been because of how accessible juuls are.”

Although students might see vaping to not be as harmful as smoking a regular cigarette, they should become more informed with what they are putting into their bodies. Nicotine has more than 4,000 different chemicals in it which all have physical, mental, and psychological effects on the body, according to Health Line. 

Vaping still exposes people to several different types of cancer causing chemicals. The chemicals used to make the vaping flavoring liquid is also as dangerous. These flavorings can cause popcorn lung, a respiratory condition. Vaping has no combustion or burned product, but it releases an aerosol that is inhaled. Aerosol is not harmless, in fact in contains fine particles of toxic chemicals that can be linked to cancer, respiratory and heart diseases. 

“Teenagers know the disadvantages of smoking a cigarette, but I think Juuling markets to teenagers by saying it is trying to reduce the amount of time smoking, but it is only getting younger people involved,” Wohler said. 

According to creators of Juul, it was never their intentions for minors to get involved with their product due to how harmful it can be for their bodies. They have pledged that over the next three years, $30 million will be dedicated to independent research, youth and parent education, and community engagement. Their website uses a unique ID match and age verification technology to make sure minors are not able to access and purchase our products online. “Juul Labs has supported partnerships for educating parents and educators on the risks of our products, the challenges of nicotine use and ways we can make products less attractive to young people. We currently respond to educators’ requests for information about our product to ensure those working with youth are aware of its nicotine content,” according to Juul.com,. 

“We as a school are trying to educate parents at parent teacher conferences, and we will have Officer Ploutz come in and educate the student body about the effects of Juuling,” Wohler said, “We are most concerned about getting parents informed so they know how to take action.”

33% of people suffering a mental disease are found to smoke more heavily than someone without. According to a 2016 report, people are expected to live a shorter life by 10 years if they are suffering from a mental disease. Smoking while having depression can be very dangerous, because people suffering depression produce less dopamine; a hormone produced by the brain to release happy feelings. The nicotine in cigarettes lures the brain into releasing dopamine for a temporary high feeling, but this is dangerous because nicotine can almost convince the brain to shut off its natural supply to dopamine. Due to it only satisfying for a short amount of time, a person may crave another smoke or use of vape, according to Fit for Work. 

“Juuling is very addictive, and so when a student gets addicted not only does it affect their health, but they prioritize it first, so when the urge to juul comes to them, they do it,” Wohler said. 

Stress is another mental disease that can lead individuals to relying on cigarettes. When suffering from the symptoms of stress, it is often found that those individuals will result to smoking. Although it may be a short term satisfaction, in the long run it will bring greater health issues, according to Fit to Work. The more a person is involved with nicotine, the more their body becomes tolerant to it. The more a person smokes or vapes, the higher risk they put themselves at for ruining their health, according to Everyday Health. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 60 percent of new smokers are under the age of 18. Some teens start to smoke as an act of rebellion. Peer pressure also plays a role for teens who smoke. Since nicotine is so addictive, they can’t stop once they become adults. It is very important to teenagers to have a social life, but sometimes that can lead into peer pressure into doing things they may not want to do. Teenagers friends are their biggest influences in their lives. 

“All teenagers at one point will be a victim of peer pressure to try something that everyone else thinks is ‘cool’,” Wohler said.

The influencing to start smoking or vaping is much stronger than trying to quit. The influencer knows how to vape, where to buy them, and how not to get caught, all of which an experienced smoker would know and teach to their friends. Children and teens whose parents have less education or income, or who believe smoking is expected or normal, are more likely to smoke. Those who are not doing well academically or not involved in extracurricular activities appear to be at greater risk for taking up smoking. Those who feel bad about themselves or lack self-confidence might also be more prone to smoke, either on their own or in response to peer pressure, according to Live Strong. 

“We know it is here at SHS, and we want to help, but right now it is hard to pinpoint where it is,” Wohler said.