As teens are ‘juuling,’ school and police are worrying

School officials, police, and health advocates say they are alarmed by the trend on several fronts. They say while it’s becoming increasingly popular among high school students, the real health risks are still unknown and that parents, in many cases, are in the dark.

As he took his first hits from a fruit medley-flavored JUUL, Brett, slowly began to feel more at ease.

Smoking it was a mellowing experience, said Brett, a Burlington County high school student who asked that his last name not be used. He took up using the electronic cigarette after seeing many of his classmates do it, and initially liked that it soothed his nerves.

“You start to feel a little looser. You calm down a lot,” Brett said. “It really is a stress reliever.”

But as Brett started “Juuling,” also known as vaping, more often, he began to feel crippling nausea after taking multiple hits.

“It’s terrible. It makes you want to throw up. It makes you want to die,” Brett said. “I didn’t want to feel like that anymore.”

He quit cold turkey, but admits many of his peers vape in school bathrooms and class lectures, on the bus and in the hallways.

School officials, police, and health advocates say they are alarmed by the trend on several fronts. They say while it’s becoming increasingly popular among high school students, the real health risks are still unknown and that parents, in many cases, are in the dark.

Juuling, named for the JUUL brand, adds its own concerns to their worries. It’s easy to conceal a habit, they said.

Unlike other bulky, tube-shaped e-cigarettes, JUULs sport a sleek, modern design that is nearly identical to a flash drive, which wouldn’t be uncommon for any student to have in school. And like its USB twin, the device can be plugged into a computer to charge.

“These are discreet devices that have potential harm for our kids and we really want to make sure parents understand that they need to be vigilant and be on the lookout for these devices,” said Libby Magewski, of Prevention Plus, a Lumberton-based organization working to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. “If they see something they don’t recognize, they need to look into it.”

JUULs, relatively inexpensive and easily available in stores and online, are by far the most popular device of choice, according to multiple teachers, police officers and health officials.

“Over the past couple of years, it’s completely taken over,” said Evesham Police Lt. Ronald Ritter, who oversees township school resource officers. “We rarely have kids using cigarettes. Now vaping has turned into what cigarettes used to be.”

Some parents even buy the products for their teens, reasoning it’s safer than drugs or smoking. Others don’t realize the vape juice does can contain nicotine.

“It’s something better than a cigarette or a blunt,” Brett reasoned.

Vaping is marketed as a method to help tobacco smokers quit using traditional cigarettes

E-cigarette users fill a liquid cartridge with a vape juice of their choice, which can contain up to 16 mg of nicotine. Some are nicotine free. When smokers take a drag, the e-cigarette vaporizes the liquid. Then they hold the vapor in their mouth for several seconds and exhale it out of their nose or mouth.

Read more at http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com

 

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