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JUULs: A Dangerous Trend

Layla Mathews, Staff Reporter

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In the 1950s, looking like James Dean with a cigarette dangling out of your mouth was cool. We’ve since learned that smoking is unhealthy and, in most circles, uncool. Sadly, this generation’s perceived cool is the use of E-Cigs, or more commonly, JUULS.

JUULs (pronounced “jewels”) are marketed as an alternative for cigarettes, mainly to help former smokers quit. But current trends would suggest, that like the early days of cigarettes, these companies are targeting younger users. They are designed to be sleek, portable, and easy to charge — which makes them easier to hide. They are used with pods, which contain the juice that creates the vapor. They offer flavors such as mango, vanilla, and even creme brulee. They are typically used to get head high or have that buzz.

Unfortunately, JUULs aren’t as safe as some teens may want to believe. Although an alternative to cigarettes, they still come with enough health risks to be considered unhealthy. One pod contains 0.7 ml of nicotine, or 5 percent by weight. That is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes.

Equally concerning, is the fact that the purchase and use of JUULs by minors is illegal. And smoking, in any form, by persons of any age, is not allowed on campus.

Nicotine is an addictive stimulant that is used in cigarettes, E-cigs, and JUULs. Nicotine is so addictive that it causes people to become unstable and irritable without it after use. They are constantly looking for that buzz, which creates a pattern of always needing more and more.

Research has shown that exposure to nicotine in teen/young adult years can cause depression and mood swings. It has been proven that long-term use of nicotine brings risks for heart disease and cancer. Another substance used in JUULs is benzoic acid which could also harm the people using it. Benzoic acid is found in tobacco plants and can be used as a preservative in most foods, and is only safe to consume at small levels. If inhaled to a certain extent, benzoic acid can cause damage to the nervous system, and cause hyperactivity in teens.

Daily exposure to benzoic acid can potentially create irritation to the lungs, and has been linked to asthma. Benzoic acid in E-cig products are being studied to confirm links to developing cancer through benzene, which is a carcinogen. There is about 4.5 percent benzoic acid in JUULs, which is enough to cause damage to the respiratory system over time.

JUULs, overall, are a new technology that are still being studied to determine how harmful they actually are. Teens should be aware of the chemicals they are putting in their body, and what really is inside these pods.

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JUULs: A Dangerous Trend