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Don’t do the JUUL: CHS students should recognize dangers of JUULing

I have never considered myself anti-drug. However, I find the prevalence of one particular drug among high school students disturbing.

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I have never considered myself anti-drug. While I believe many drugs can be harmful, it’s ultimately up to the individual to make an informed decision whether or not using a particular substance is worth it. However, I find the prevalence of one particular drug among high school students disturbing.

I am, of course, referring to JUULs, the discreet, USB-shaped e-cigarettes it seems everyone is using. I can barely open my Instagram or Snapchat anymore without a bombardment of videos of fellow students JUULing in the bathrooms or asking if anyone is selling JUUL pods. The reason I find this troublesome, despite my rather moderate stance on drugs, is that the appeal of JUULs to youths has led to many users who are uninformed of the true risks of using them and many people who use their JUULs at school inappropriately despite the policies in place.

It’s no secret that the JUUL’s popularity has been most prevalent among teens and young adults, even though many teenagers are under 18 (the age at which you can buy JUULs). This age group also uses social media the most, making the spread and popular association of JUULs almost instantaneous. This has also resulted in many users being misinformed, only hearing what their friends and the people they follow on social media have to say.

The facts of JUULing are as follows: JUULs are often viewed as a safer alternative to actual cigarettes since they deliver nicotine but do not contain tobacco, which can result in lung cancer. However, according to the Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund, JUULs and other e-cigarettes contain many of the same harmful chemicals (excluding tobacco) that are found in cigarettes. Additionally, no studies have proven that the vapor from JUULs is any less harmful than cigarette smoke.

Although JUULs may not contain tobacco, that does not make them the perfectly safe alternative people make them out to be. In fact, they actually contain more nicotine than cigarettes do. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, one JUUL pod can contain the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. This fact is what I found most shocking, as many people including fellow students go through multiple JUUL pods every day, not realizing just how detrimental it is to their health.

According to Medical News Today, excessive consumption of nicotine has a proven linkage to heart disease, high blood pressure, increased blood clotting tendency and even a higher risk of strokes or heart attacks. Additionally, nicotine is highly addictive, and once the body becomes dependent on it withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, depression, cravings and difficulty focusing. While students who are over 18 have every legal right to JUUL as much as they want, and I have no objection to that, they should still educate themselves and be fully aware of what they are doing to their bodies in order to make an informed decision.

However, for the students who choose to JUUL despite the negative health effects, doing it at school is just obnoxious, distracting, harmful to classmates and against school rules. Even though you may be 18 and it may be legal for you to JUUL, drugs are not allowed on school property no matter what your age. If you really feel like you can’t go a full school day (around eight hours) without JUULing, then you probably have an addiction and need to seek help.

If you can go without your JUUL and just choose not to, there are better ways to rebel that do not involve damaging your health. Not only that, but the JUULing problem affects those who do not JUUL as well. As stated before, there is no evidence that JUUL vapor is less harmful than cigarette smoke. That means that the secondhand JUUL vapor one gets when in a confined area with JUUL users, like a bathroom, can have health effects that are just as detrimental as inhaling secondhand smoke. All students have to use the bathroom at some point or another, and if those bathrooms are constantly being JUULed in, students end up having to sacrifice their health to an extent just to do so. Additionally, no one wants to come out of the bathroom smelling like whatever pod flavor was being smoked around them. It’s distracting and annoying. Plus, the risks and potential consequences of being caught with a JUUL far outweigh the benefits of feeling rebellious and getting a hit of nicotine in the middle of the day.

For the sake of yourself and your fellow students, if you really want to JUUL despite how bad it is for you, just wait until you get home. It’s a matter of respect for your fellow students and creating a safe and comfortable learning environment for everyone.

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About the Writer
Emily Worrell, Perspectives Editor
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