As a parent, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the potential dangers that our kids could experience while they are navigating adolescents.
Generations of teenagers have always found a way to rebel in an unhealthy way but we can’t overlook the growing popularity of e-cigarettes, such as vaping and JUULing among teenagers and its negative effects impacting users within a short amount of time.
This article is brought to you in partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
I recently attended an assembly at a local High School where Joyce Jacobs, a tobacco treatment specialist shared more about the dangers and facts about e-cigarettes, vapes or JUUL’s.
I honestly didn’t know very much about e-cigarettes, vapes or JUUL’s prior to the assembly. I’ve seen people using these products in the general public but I don’t come from a family with a history of smoking which is why it’s so important to be informed.
The state of Kentucky is in the “tobacco belt” and has a higher national percentage of smokers with 26% and over 15% of youth using cigarettes.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes, vapes or JUUL’s are battery-powered devices that heat an e-liquid that often contains nicotine that can be inhaled like regular cigarettes and they produce an aerosol cloud of nicotine and other substances.
What is Juuling/ Vaping?
JUULing is a form of vaping using Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, which include “vapes”, hookah pens, or JUUL’s.
There is a misconception that e-cigarettes, vapes or JUUL’s is better than smoking cigarettes. The reality is that these devices can become even more harmful and addictive.
There is no water in an e-cigarette, it’s an aerosol, not a vapor. You cannot purchase a JUUL that does not have nicotine in it.
E-cigarettes, vapes and Juul’s still have harmful chemicals and you can still be exposed to second hand-Aerosol if you are within close proximity.
In recent years cigarette use among students has declined but E-cigarette use has skyrocketed by US high school students.
What Does it Look Like?
Tobacco comes in many shapes and sizes. For parents, it’s important to know what to look for because a lot has changed since we were kids.
This article has a variety of e-cigarettes, such as JUUL’s and Vapes pictured throughout.
Don’t let your kids tell you that there is nothing inside the JUUL pod. It’s not just water and flavor. You cannot purchase a JUUL that does not have nicotine in it. Anything other than clean air will damage your lungs.
A single JUUL cartridge is roughly equal to a pack of cigarettes, or 200 cigarette puffs and it’s easy to mistake a JUUL for a USB flash drive because it looks similar and can even be plugged into a computer to charge.
Why are E-cigarettes Popular Among Middle and High School Students
The menthol e-liquid vape flavors come in a variety of flavors that appeal to students. There are Strawberry Watermelon, Iced Lemonade, and Berry flavors. There are even flavored vapes that taste like cereal, dessert, candy, and bakery items.
Young people are targeted in advertising to become the next generation of smokers.
It’s easier to hide JUULing from parents because there is not a bad smell on clothing or your breath like with traditional cigarettes and many parents could easily mistake a charging JUUL for a regular USB in their computer because of its similar appearance.
What are the Dangers of E-cigarettes?
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Nicotine affects every cell of your body. When a cigarette is burned it creates more than 7,000 chemicals.
According to the CDC website, as of October 1, 2019, there were 1,080 lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported to CDC from the following states and 1 U.S. territory.
Eighteen deaths have been confirmed in 15 states and more deaths are under investigation.
The CDC has received complete sex and age data for 889 cases.
- 70% of cases are male
- The median age of patients is 23 years and ranges from 13-75 years.
- 81% of patients are under 35 years old.
A few of the shocking chemicals you’ll find in e-cigarettes are Propylene glycol also found in Antifreeze, Acetone also used for nail polish remover, Ethylbenzene also used for paints and pesticides, Formaldehyde also used for embalming, Nicotine also used for Cigarettes, and Rubidium also used in fireworks.
1 Cigarette = 1ml nicotine
1 pack of Cigarettes = 20 mg of nicotine = 20 Cigarettes
1 JUUL pod = 41.3mg nicotine =41 Cigarettes
1 PHIX pod = 75 mg nicotine = 75 Cigarettes
1 Suorin = 90 mg of nicotine = 90 Cigarettes
How the Body is Affected by Nicotine
Nicotine rewires and changes the brain, causes the heart to beat faster due to “fight or flight” response, trouble breathing and causes damages to the lungs, and increased acid reflux.
Attention, learning, and memory are impacted by nicotine exposure during adolescence. Longterm exposure can be addicting, increase the risk of heart disease, and negatively impact your respiratory tract.
When Should You Start Talking to Your Students About E-Cigarettes?
It’s important to start having conversations with your student about e-cigarette use, such as vaping or JUULing as early as 5th grade. Unfortunately, kids are starting to experiment with vaping at earlier ages and the earlier you talk to them, the better informed they will be to make healthy choices.
If you have a student who is addicted to JUULing it’s really important for them to see a physician.
Attend or Request a Speaker at Your Child’s School
After observing the high school presentation I immediately thought of everyone that I know who would find this information valuable from adults to kids. I know a few adults who started vaping because they thought that it was a safer alternative.
The good news is that you can help be a part of the solution with education.
You can request for a tobacco treatment specialist from St. Elizabeth Healthcare to speak at your child’s school for an assembly or parent night at no cost to the school. Classrooms are the ideal size over an assembly so that the presentation can be more hands-on.
This program is a detailed focus on the growing issue of e-cigarettes, such as vapes and JUUL’s, as well as traditional tobacco products. They bring this program at no charge to you for audiences including students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and any others interested in this topic.
Presentations may be customized to specific needs of the audience, setting and age groups, and can be as brief as 15 minutes, or more in-depth up to 45 minutes to an hour. The only technology needed is a computer with PowerPoint and a projector to project the presentation.
The experts from St. Elizabeth will discuss the alarming rise of the JUULing and vaping epidemic, covering both electronic and traditional tobacco products and the dangers.
Find an Upcoming Community Event
St. Elizabeth Healthcare offers a variety of free programs and classes for the community each month.
For example, Smoking Cessation Freshstart is a FREE 4-week smoking cessation program developed by the American Cancer Society and that is offered to you by St. Elizabeth Healthcare that is designed to help you take charge of your efforts to quit smoking or using other forms of tobacco.
Check the St. Elizabeth Events and Classes Calendar to find an upcoming event that works for your schedule.
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