Whether you call it vaping or Juuling, the use of electronic cigarettes is growing at a rapid rate, especially among adolescents. E-cigarettes were initially marketed as a positive alternative to traditional cigarettes. Instead, they’ve quickly become a tool for introducing a whole new generation to nicotine.
Vaping is big business. According to CNBC, JUUL, one of the market leaders, experienced over 800% percent growth in 2018. The company was valued at over $15 billion dollars. JUULs have become increasingly popular with teens since they’re small, often the size and look of a USB, and can be used discreetly. Marketed to both teens and adults, they come in kid-friendly fruity flavors, like fruit medley and crème brule.
Not For Kids
Dr. Laura Neustater, a Fort Lauderdale-based pediatrician, says adults who make the switch from cigarettes to noncombustible tobacco are often praised for a move many erroneously think is healthier. What she wants to make clear, “This praise unfortunately makes the use of JUULs seem safe; it’s not. The user is still exposed to nicotine, which can lead to dependence and long-term health consequences.”
E-cigarettes are tobacco free, however, they still contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug. The National Center for Health Research claims the nicotine content of JUULs is almost twice as high as other e-cigarettes. This makes the nicotine in a single JUUL pod equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes.
It’s not just the nicotine that’s harmful. The fun flavors added to entice teens bring an additional layer of carcinogens with them. According to The American Cancer Society, some flavorings contain diacetyl, which has been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung disease.
Use of JUULs and similar products are especially dangerous for teens, leading to chronic respiratory problems, Neustater tells Parentology, “As a pediatrician, I see adolescents daily. I’m sadly no longer surprised to see teenagers which chronic coughs from vaping.”
Neustater recommends parents talk with kids about the long-term effects of vaping, including, “The use of nicotine in any setting will give them a harsh cough.” And dispelling myths surrounding the practice, “Nicotine use is not associated with weight loss, despite popular belief.”
JUUL use is breeding a whole new generation of nicotine addicts that will unfortunately experience the effects of nicotine-related diseases. Another way Neustater recommends getting the message across to avoid nicotine products, “All parents should practice what they preach and cease nicotine use themselves.”