Move Over Cigs, The JUUL is Here

After Juuls went on sale in June 2015, the Juul company quickly realized teenagers were using them because they posted images of themselves vaping Juuls all over social media. Over the last three years, Juul has had an exponential rise and has become the dominant seller of e-cigarettes. The company now controls a remarkable 72 percent of the market and is worth more than $16 billion according to Nielsen data.

About 13 percent of 8th graders, 24 percent of 10th graders, and nearly 28 percent of 12th graders at U.S. schools reported using a vaping device in the past year. 1 in 10 reported vaping nicotine, according to data from the 2017 MTF survey.

This not only has an effect on our health, one Juul pod of vape liquid has the equivalent nicotine to one pack of cigarettes, but also the environment. The plastic pods that contain the liquid nicotine vapor are not biodegradable, while cigarette butts are. 

“ A couple of my friends asked me if I wanted to try it and now I’m kinda stuck and I do it regularly now. It started out as a social thing, but I kinda do it by myself now too, ” said an anonymous vapor from the senior class. She has been using Juul products for about a year now and plans to stop eventually, but not now because all of her friends do it. She considers herself “addicted” at the moment and spends around $20-$30 a week. “I get the pods from friends who have already graduated and I usually vape at TA after school.”

Nicotine can have adverse health risks for teens and their physical and emotional development.  Nicotine is highly addictive, toxic to fetuses, and is known to impair brain and lung development if used during adolescence. It is not replacing cigarette smoking but rather encouraging it. According to a  2017 study, non-smoking adults were four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes.

“As terrible as it sounds, do what you want because in the end you’re killing yourself,” said senior Jake Lamontagne, who thinks the whole trend is ridiculous and does not vape.

“I don’t participate in it because I think it’s stupid and a waste of time, but it’s common everywhere. I see people vape most of the time on sidewalks in big cities like Portland. It’s clearly an epidemic. When it first came out people thought it was so cool and now you have people getting paid to vape shapes. People think it’s so cool that they wanna try it and then you end up getting hooked on the nicotine.”

In response to increased use, the Maine legislature has changed its law from needing to be 18 to buy nicotine products to 21. The Maine legislature isn’t the only group taking note and reacting to this surge of new nicotine products— high school administration officials are also taking steps to be proactive instead of reactive to this new trend.

Senior dean, Mr. Paradis said, “We started dealing with juuls and vaporizers about 3 years ago, but we have seen a huge growth in the use of vapes within the last year and a half or two years. Obviously it’s a brand new technology and it’s something we have had to take a closer look at since we started seeing more and more of these. We had to change our policy around vapes and juuls to protect ourselves as well as protect students at TA. About a year ago we started to get reports of kids using vape in classrooms and videotaping themselves, then posting it online.  I know that was a bit of a phenomena. The use of vapes in the bathroom is also an issue which we monitor closely and we sometimes find vapes on individuals if we need to search them for possible possession of a substance. ”

But smoking in teens isn’t new, in fact Mr. Paradis says that when he went to school here at Thornton Academy, there was a smoking section right in front of where the gym is now, where students over 18 would go to smoke before or after school. 

The consequences with being caught with a vape or a Juul at Thornton use to be a two hour detention, parents called and a guidance counselor notified. But now dean Paradis also said that he and other deans have seen these vaporizers used to smoke liquid THC, so Thornton Academy changed their policy to view vapes as drug paraphernalia which is more serious. Now if a student is caught they could have a suspension for a couple of days. If you play a sport at TA, the consequence would be decided by the coach, but you would still be suspended from school.

Maine is not alone by having laws change. All fifty states have now imposed age restrictions on the purchase of e-cigarette products. Along with age limits, several states have also instituted laws regarding the use, taxation, and sales of e-cigarettes. There are 8 states who have put a tax on the sale of e-cigarettes, 7 states that prohibit the indoor use of e-cigarettes or in public areas and 11 states that have banned e-cigarette sales through vending machines or self-service displays.

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7 Responses to Move Over Cigs, The JUUL is Here

  1. Anonymous November 2, 2018 at 7:02 pm #

    Very informative!! thank you!

  2. Makeye November 5, 2018 at 9:56 pm #

    Very informative! Great job on content!

  3. Maki November 5, 2018 at 10:00 pm #

    VERY informative! Great content!

  4. John November 6, 2018 at 9:05 am #

    Woah, really informative.

  5. Effie November 6, 2018 at 3:02 pm #

    Good job on stats!

  6. RM November 7, 2018 at 8:42 pm #

    Great job and great Topic !

  7. Anonymous November 8, 2018 at 10:57 am #

    Super informative, thank you for the information!!

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