Parents Beware, It’s Easier than Ever for Teens to Smoke Thanks to New Product

Has your teen been excessively thirsty lately? Has he or she suffered nosebleeds, or are they suddenly sensitive to caffeine? If you answered yes to the questions above, you may want to talk to your teen about e-cigarette usage. Recently an electronic cigarette, known as a JUUL has become increasingly popular at middle schools and high schools throughout the country.

What is a JUUL?

A JUUL is an electronic cigarette that you could easily mistake for a USB drive. The device works by heating nicotine juice contained in a ‘JUUL pod,’ which creates a vapor that is inhaled by the user. JUULs give off a light, fruity smell. Because JUULs are easily disguised, and don’t give off the same offensive odors that generally accompanies nicotine, it is extremely easy for teenagers to smoke JUULs anytime, anywhere.

Why parents should be concerned:

Each JUUL pod contains roughly the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. The nicotine in a JUUL is concentrated and much stronger than other vaping products. Regardless of how mature your teen may appear, their brain is still developing, which means teens are especially vulnerable to addition. Not only is nicotine extremely additive, it has also been linked to issues with brain development, respiratory symptoms, and other long term impacts.

Begin the conversation:

If you’ve yet to talk to your teen about e-cigarette use, now’s the time. It is now easier than ever for teens to get their hands on nicotine products, and unfortunately many teens don’t realize the potential harm they’re causing their bodies. A study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found most teenagers who reported they vaped didn’t have any idea what was it was they were actually smoking. And, it’s important to point out that just as legal substances, like nicotine are used in vaping devices, illegal products are too. Here’s some tips for talking to your teen from the Addiction Education Society:

When talking to your teens about vaping, play it casual, [Dr.Laura Offutt] recommends. “It’s not really a judgmental way to ask the question,” she says. “It’s more just, ‘I’ve read this, and I’m curious what you’ve heard about it.’ Or, ‘Do you know any kids that are using e-cigarettes?’ or ‘What do your classmates think about e-cigarettes?’ It’s a nice way to open that conversation.”

Keep it open-ended, [Dr. Pia Fenimore, a pediatrician with Lancaster Pediatric Associates in Pennsylvania| agrees: “You don’t want to ask a yes-no question. Because teenagers will look for any chance to answer a question with a yes or no. Then you’re really nowhere.” Continue reading here.

NYC and New Jersey parents can find more safety resources below: