Vaping, JUULing and Teens: Get the Facts
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration called the issue of teenage vaping an epidemic.
In a recent survey, 24% of BSD 11th graders said they had tried an e-cigarette or vaping product at some point. How did we get here? More importantly, as parents, students, community members and educators, what can we do about it?
First and foremost, we can educate ourselves and others. Vaping devices heat nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals to create an aerosol that is inhaled. Vaping is the same as JUULing. JUUL is simply a brand of vaping device. It is the most popular vaping device among teenagers and it looks like a USB drive. JUUL is popular with teenagers for several reasons. It is marketed via social media, billboards and magazines, often portraying vaping as hip and youthful. The pods are formulated with flavorings that appeal to young people.
Vaping and JUULing is marketed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. It is important to note that "safer" does not mean "safe." E-cigarettes and vaping devices contain nicotine. In fact, one JUUL pod equals the same amount of nicotine as in one pack of cigarettes. Nicotine can permanently alter the brain. The brain is "under construction" until age 27, meaning the pre-frontal cortex is still developing. This means nicotine use can affect memory, attention, the ability to learn, memory, attention and can contribute to behavioral problems. In the survey, 58% of BSD students surveyed believe there is low to no risk of harm using e-cigarettes or vaping.
E-cigarettes and vaping devices like JUUL are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has the ability to stop e-cigarette sales and mandate that producers go through a formal FDA approval process. So far, the agency has not taken this action.
2018 Student Wellness Survey (Beaverton School District 11th Graders)
- 24% of 11th graders have tried an e-cigarette/vaping product at some point
- 13% used some time in the last 30 days
- 52% felt it would be "sort of easy or easy" to get e-cigs, vape-pens, or e-hookahs
- 38% don't disapprove of their peers using e-cigs/vape devices
- 58% of students don't believe there is risk of harm using e-cigs/vape