You’ve probably heard a lot about teen vaping and Juuling in the news lately. While e-cigarettes have been around for more than a decade, usage has risen drastically in teen populations in the last few years. Recent statistics are alarming, According to Monitoring the Future, which conducted an annual study for NIDA (The National Institute on Drug Abuse) in 2017, 19% of 12th graders, 16% of 10th-graders and 8% of 8th graders reported vaping nicotine in the past year.

So what is JUUL?

JUUL (pronouced like “jewel”) is a private company that is one of the largest players in the e-cigarette market. They make a vaping device that looks like a flash drive, can be charged in any USB charging device, and comes in flavors like creme brulee, fruit medley and cool cucumber.

What is JUULing?

Juuling or vaping is when someone uses an e-cigarette by inhaling and exhaling the vapors produced by the device (e.g., e-cigarette, vape pen).

Is vaping dangerous?

The jury is still out on this question. While many e-cigarette companies discuss the safety of e-cigs over combustible cigarettes, we really don’t know yet. Because e-cigs are relatively new to the market, very few research studies have been conducted to determine the long-term effects of vaping.

What we know for sure is that e-cigs contain high levels of nicotine and are therefore addictive. We also know that people who try smoking at a younger age are more likely to develop dependence on nicotine and to have trouble quitting. Also, teens who use e-cigs like Juul are much more likely to start smoking cigarettes.

An additional concern has arisen because the metal coils in vaping devices release small metal flakes when heated. When inhaled, these metal flakes travel deep into the lungs where they cause inflammation and can result in symptoms resembling asthma.

Also, the e-liquid contains many chemicals which often include propylene glycol and glycerol, which when heated, break down to formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Surprisingly, there is much more formaldehyde in vapor than cigarette smoke.

Do you remember Joe Camel?

Joe Camel was an advertising campaign for Camel cigarettes that ran from 1988-1997. They wanted kids to notice their brand and it worked. In 1991 90% of 6-year-old children could match a picture of Joe Camel with a picture of a cigarette.

Advertising to Teens

Currently, high rates of teens, about 70%, report seeing advertising for e-cigs across multiple channels including, tv, newspaper, magazine ads, internet, and retail. In 2016 advertising e-cigs directly to teens was banned, but online advertising is not regulated in the same way and often reaches teens who click on ads unknowingly.

As rates of teen e-cig rise to concerning rates, the US government and the public increased pressure on Juul. In November 2018 Juul voluntarily agreed to stop selling most of their flavored pods at retail stores and agreed to discontinue social media promotions. However, critics state that young users continue to post on their social media accounts, so Juul no longer needs to do their own advertising because teen users are doing it for them. Teens end up being exposed to information about vaping on social media regularly.

What to tell your kids about vaping?

Give them the facts and keep an open dialogue with them about what they are hearing and what their friends are doing. Make sure they know that vaping involves nicotine, which is addictive. Many teens mistakenly think that the vapor only contains flavoring, they don’t realize that it contains nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals, so it’s especially important that they are aware of what is in the vaper. Smoking may seem “Cool” even though it’s dangerous, vaping can be perceived the same way especially because of the flavors.

As kids grow up there are so many things that are competing for their time and attention, it is important to help them navigate the social landscape where they want to be accepted and fit in. Vaping may not seem that dangerous to them, so it’s important that we educate ourselves and our children about the real risk factors involved. Opening up an honest conversation about vaping is the best way to ensure that teens are informed and can make good decisions. At Wholeview we provide treatment for people who struggle to stop using nicotine. If you are interested in learning more about treatment to stop using e-cigarettes, don’t hesitate to call us at 212-204-8430.