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E-cigarette use is on the rise, especially among teens including those at Center Grove Community School Corporation. One product, Juul (pictured below), has even sparked the term “juuling,” which is prevalent in the teen lexicon. Teens are drawn to the flavors, such as candy, fruit, chocolate, alcohol, in e-cigarettes. Because of the flavoring, there is a belief that the products are safe for teens.


Juules and refill cartridges

Just as with traditional tobacco products, vaping is not without serious risks. Parents need to be in the know about the risks and what products are on the market. In 2016, “E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General” was released and was the first report to focus on youth and e-cigarette use. This report addressed e-cigarette use young adolescents (ages 11-14), adolescents (ages 15-17) and young adults (ages 18-25).

According to the Surgeon General’s Report, e-cigarettes are harmful to young people. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. A human brain continues to develop through a person’s early to mid-20s. Nicotine use during adolescent developing can “disrupt the formation of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction.” Another myth is that the aerosol from an e-cigarette is harmless, especially compared to smoke from traditional tobacco products. The aerosol can contain harmful potentially harmful chemicals. In particular, the flavoring can contain diacetyl, which is a chemical linked to “popcorn lung.” Popcorn lung is similar symptoms to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According the American Lung Association, when diacetyl is inhaled, it causes bronchiolitis obliterans, “a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways.” “Popcorn lung” causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

The FDA recently started a crackdown on retailers selling e-cigarettes to underage kids. The popular vaping device Juul is at the center of the crackdown because it resembles a flash drive and is easy to conceal from adults. Of particular concern is that the flash drive style of devices typically deliver more nicotine. The FDA banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18 in 2016.


Symptoms of nicotine poisoning

Doctors advise parents to watch for signs of nicotine poisoning in underage kids.

  • Users largely report use of fruity and sweet flavors, masking the harshness of the nicotine and giving the illusion of being harmless.
  • JUUL pods contain the nicotine equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.
  • Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
  • Of youth who have ever used JUUL, one-in-three have used marijuana with the device.
  • At latest count, 37 drugs were capable of being vaped in liquid form.

Some of the reported signs include:

  • Eyes: Irritation, abrasion, pain, redness, blurred vision
  • Head: Headache, agitation, drowsiness, dizziness, excessive salivation
  • Skin: Pallor, sweating
  • Abdomen: Pain, nausea, vomiting
  • Other: High blood pressure, increased heart rate, lack of coordination, twitching, tremor
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