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Family Matters 03/23/18

Parents Beware: Signs Your Teen Is Juuling

Young man vaping, juuling

There are so many problems with addiction that it has become a national crisis. So, when I learned of a new way that teens can become addicted, I wanted to pass it along.

There is a new device called the Juul that doesn't look like an e-cigarette but is. It is a vaping device. You might see it and not know that it is not a USB drive for your teen's computer. The device looks like a USB drive, is easy to use without being detected because the vapor can be hidden and the smell is not like cigarettes. You can plug it in to a laptop to recharge. Students are using it in bathrooms, the library and under their desk in class. The problem has become so big in some schools that USB drives have been banned. On line, look for #doit4juul.

When polled, many teens are not aware they are using nicotine when they juul because of the sweet flavors. This is not a harmless device as it contains a pod of nicotine juice that is favored in a fruit or other flavor like creme brûlée. The device heats the nicotine to be vaped. The company claims it was developed to help adult smokers quit.

You must be 21 to buy it, but it is showing up in high schools across America. Why, because like cigarettes, teens can use those fake IDs, get it from a friend or buy it at a gas station where the attendant isn't paying attention. But because it contains nicotine, it can lead to addiction. It is attracting users because the of the flavor of the vape and the hit in your head that feels good from the nicotine. However, eventually this leads to tolerance and needing more. Just like a cigarettes smoker, the teen needs more which leads to addiction. And as a point of information -- each pod contains the same as a pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs, meaning this is more than double of most vaping products. The FDA says it is just as harmful as cigarettes.

The teenage brain is underdeveloped and vulnerable to addiction and can have long term impacts on memory and learning. We know that if a teen is exposed to nicotine before adulthood, the chances of becoming a smoker are greatly increased. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. it is a difficult addiction to kick. And regarding respiratory health, here is what the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care has to say. Teens who vape are more likely to have persistent cough, bronchitis, congestion and phlegm than nonsmokers.

Here are a few signs to look for:

  • Increased thirst
  • Nosebleeds
  • New sensitivity to caffeine

Talk to your teens and let them know this is another device that can lead to addiction and mess up their teen brain and respiratory health. The lure of this being a cool thing to do comes with a price of possible addiction. And the flavors of the vape make it more appealing than cigarette smoke but the affect is just as harmful and a tempting way to get teens hooked on nicotine.

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