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JUUL: A Health Risk to Teens

The Rules Are There For A Reason

Brittney Pensoneau, Student Editor

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The newest vape device has sparked a lot of controversy over the last few months. Reports are that a part of the teenage population uses a Vaping device and with the new compact and concealable JUUL, they are able to take hits from them even more often. JUULs are discrete, with very little of the vapor able to be seen. Some teachers worry that students are starting to take up the habit of getting in a hit when their backs are turned. The device looks very similar to a USB drive. They are about the same size and even charge from USB ports!

One of the biggest concerns about JUULs, and really vapes in general, is if they are truly safe to use. We know regular cigarettes are full of carcinogens and do a monumental amount of damage to a smoker’s lungs and throat, but we have had decades to figure out all the dangers. For vapes, we have barely had half a decade to study their effects. While the nicotine in tobacco is not cancerous, other additives and chemicals in the smoke are. From the studies done so far on  JUUL vapes, they found that there is an unhealthy level of heavy metals, such as lead, in the vapors. They have even found that there can be dangerous levels of aldehydes (such as formalddehyde), some of which are carcinogens.

We, of course, believe Vapes are safer than real cigarettes, and we are not wrong for thinking that. They are safer, but they are not entirely safe. The nicotine in cigarettes makes them addictive, and vapes have nicotine inside of their liquid to help smokers quit or at least to depend on the vapes rather than cigarettes, but that can make them very addictive to non-smokers as well. This situation becomes a battle between the health of smokers and the health of irresponsible teens. Making JUULs less accessible will harm smokers, but leaving them as available as they are now will harm teens. The Food and Drug Administration is hoping to set some new regulations for the vapes and similar devices.

The FDA is most concerned about the amount of nicotine in the JUUL’s liquid. The chemicals and even just the amount of nicotine can be a risk to young people’s hearts. The nicotine from 1 pod of a JUUL is equal to about 1 whole pack of cigarettes! Now that wouldn’t seem so bad when you think that that is up to 200 puffs from the device, but that’s 20 cigarettes in one pod. While it might not seem to be an issue, think about how much could be puffed on a drive to school, or on a walk in town.

If the health risks are not addressed or brought up, there could be consequences that would have been easily avoided if people had been informed. Staying aware and keeping up to date on the medical research will be the only true way to keep kids and teens safe.

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