Juuls Killing Teens

September 24, 2019

Carson Zanella ’21

Juuling and e-cigarettes have developed into a major epidemic within the last few months. Although companies initially developed and sold the e-cigarette as a smoking cessation, it quickly attracted young teens who were curious about the mystique of it. Realizing this was a developing demographic, manufacturers quickly began marketing to young, curious customers to buy their product by offering multiple flavors such as cotton candy, mint, mango, to name just a few. The customer base has progressively become younger and younger. According to the Truth Initiative.org, “Teens are 16 times more likely to use JUUL than older age groups.” 

Dr. Maren LaLiberty, the founding Director of the Bioscience COE in her 10th year at Shattuck-St.Mary’s School, recently shared her insight, “The companies that are selling this have been sued by the government for marketing it directly to children and to underage users. Those are not the types of people that need to quit smoking,” LaLiberty says. “They clearly aren’t marketing it to the people they say they are.”

Nicotine goes farther than just “Juuls.” E-cigarettes have been a major problem as well. Some nicknames for E-cigarettes are hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, e-cigs, and even “mods.” Juuls and E-cigarettes are extremely popular among teens and are available nearly everywhere.

Nicotine is highly addictive and affects the brain in multiple dangerous ways. When the nicotine is absorbed by the lungs, it immediately enters the bloodstream when used. This increases blood pressure as well as heart rate. As a young person’s brain continues to develop not only through these teenage years but for several years thereafter, it is crucial that they have the opportunity to grow and advance properly. Teens exposed to nicotine can experience long lasting effects on their brain and body. Because nicotine is such an addictive drug, users don’t completely realize what it is doing to their bodies and well-being. 

Dr. LaLiberty goes on to say, “When you read these articles that say they don’t know why these people are dying, I’m not sure they know what is all in these Juuls or e-cigarettes. That’s the main issue of this all. The structural parts of the lungs stop working and over time actually die off when nicotine is absorbed into the lungs and bloodstream. The bronchioles in your lungs can become so enflamed or obstructed, that it can permit air from passing through, which results in not being able to breathe.”

As of September 11, 2019, 380* cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported to CDC. Six deaths have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon.