The first time I saw a teenager sucking on a flash drive and blowing smoke into the air, I was very confused. And then I started seeing it everywhere. Was this the new fad? Sucking on computer accessories? I guess it’s not any weirder than eating Tide Pods.
Then, I started seeing ads and articles on social media for Juul and things clicked into place. This is the hot, new trend sweeping our country and kids everywhere are flocking to the Juul website for starter kits. Surely, it’s better than smoking regular cigarettes, right? How harmful can water vapor really be?
Well, as of mom of teenagers, I’ve found that it’s always better to be proactive and prepared, so I started researching Juul and what I found was surprising and alarming. Keep reading for everything you need to know about Juul and your teens.
What Is Juul?
Juul is an e-cigarette that debuted in 2015. It features a small, sleek design and is often mistaken for a USB flash drive. The device works by heating up a cartridge, called a Juul pod. The Juul pod contains an oil with nicotine and when it is heated, it releases water vapor that looks like smoke. Each Juul pod has roughly the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, which makes it highly addictive.
And if you are wondering if they are popular, the company did approximately two billion in revenue last year, so yeah, they are doing ok. Juul accounts for almost 70% of all e-cigarette sales and while they claim that their target market is adults who are trying to stop using regular cigarettes, they have been attracting more and more teens to their product line.
Why are Juuls so popular with teens?
First, the design appeals to young people because it fits in the palm of their hand or a pants pocket, so it is easy to conceal.
Secondly, the Juul pods come in a variety of flavors, such as cool mint and creme brulee. Teens like the flavors plus there is no lingering odor, like you would have from a regular cigarette. This makes it easy for them to sneak puffs from their Juul while they are in the bathroom.
Third, the company mainly markets on social media, which is where teens spend a lot of time. They are constantly bombarded with images and ads that portray Juul as fun and sexy.
Lastly, the starter pack, which includes the Juul, charger and 4 pods is only $50. The inexpensive price and ease of online ordering makes Juul more accessible to teens.
Is Juul safe?
According to the Surgeon General, the brain is the last organ in the human body to fully develop and continues to do so until the early to mid twenties. Nicotine can disrupt the growth of brain cells that control attention, learning and susceptibility to addiction. It can also affect impulse control and cause mood disorders.
To sum that up for you, if your teenager is introducing nicotine to their body, they will have even worse mood swings, find it more difficult to learn and control themselves, plus it makes them more likely to abuse other substances in the future.
Even if your teen is using an e-cigarette without nicotine, there are potential health issues. Vaping anything at all can irritate the lungs and make conditions like asthma flare up. Also, since vaping is fairly new, the long term effects are not known.
How are teens getting access to Juul?
It’s insanely easy to buy Juul online. Their website does have a pop up verifying that you are 21, but of course, anyone could lie about their age and then buy whatever they want on the website. Juul are also sold in stores, however, it is actually more difficult for teens to buy them in person because they would be forced to show ID.
How can you stop your teen from using Juul?
Start by setting a good example. If you smoke or use e-cigarettes, it might be time to quit. Teenagers are old enough to question what you say, but they will generally follow your lead and emulate your lifestyle, even if they won’t admit to it.
The best way to make sure your teens don’t use Juul is to talk to them. Be open, patient and receptive to what they have to say. Find the right time and have an honest conversation with your teens about e-cigarettes.
You may be surprised to know that close to two thirds of teenagers don’t realize that Juul contains nicotine. They don’t understand the harmful effects or that nicotine is addictive. Teens are often highly influenced by what their friends say and do and have been know to make decisions without gathering all the facts. This is your opportunity to educate your child, answer their questions and help keep them safe and healthy.
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