Teenagers are ignorant to the negatives of Juuling

Megan Lafond, Contributing Writer

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the amount of U.S. smokers has decreased from 20.9 percent (in 2005) to 15.5 percent (in 2016), a number that has continued to decline over the past decade. However, a new product has taken the the country by storm that is causing nicotine usage to spiral out of control. These new products are electronic cigarettes, the most common brand being Juul. The New York Times reported that the FDA “declared that teenage usage of electronic cigarettes has reached an ‘epidemic proportion.’”

In my hometown of Wilton, Conn., “Juuling” has become so popular that a letter was sent home to parents in the town, ensuring them that Juuling is not allowed on the school’s premise, and encouraging them to talk with their children about the health risks. It is tragic to see that safe high school spaces have been ruined as teens secretly Juul in bathrooms, parking lots, and everywhere in between.

Juuls are targeting large populations of teenagers who have never smoked nicotine before. E-cigarette users take in far more nicotine, which makes it much more addictive than an average cigarette. For teenagers, nicotine addiction can cause many negative effects. The National Center for Health Research (NCHR) states that “brain imaging studies of adolescents who began smoking at a young age had markedly reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, an area critical for a person’s cognitive behavior and decision making, leading to increased sensitivity to other drugs and greater impulsivity.”

One can see how this affects nearly all aspects of teenagers’ lives, especially their futures. With hindered decision-making, increased sensitivity to drugs, and independent decision-making at an all time high, transitioning to college would be nothing short of a train wreck.

With the legal age to purchase a Juul or Juul pods at 18 in Pennsylvania, it is easy for high school students to get their hands on Juuls. In order for the Juuling craze to stop, the age to purchase Juul pods need be higher. But more importantly, the high nicotine levels need to be clearly advertised, because most high schoolers, and even their parents, don’t even realize the risks and negative effects that come from Juuling.

Unfortunately, because electronic cigarettes are still so new, the long-term effects cannot be advertised because there are too few standing users. I hope it doesn’t take people as long to see the effects of Juuling as it did for our past generations to see the effects of smoking.

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