Sleek, new electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that can deliver nicotine and flavorings to the user in the form of an aerosol. They come in many shapes and sizes.
The one that looks like a flash drive is called a JUUL. A JUUL can plug into a laptop like a flash drive and can be deceivingly harmless. But it’s not. It’s the newest trend in e-cigarettes and is so easy to hide that teenagers are using them in school bathrooms, hallways and even classrooms. That is why JUULs have been causing great concern among parents, educators and health care professionals across the country.
What’s the harm?
JUUL’s nicotine liquid refills are called “pods” and are available in several flavors such as Cool Cucumber, Fruit Medley, Mango and Mint. All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine and each pod contains –
- As much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes
- Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead
- Flavoring with a Diacetyl chemical that has been linked to serious lung disease and other cancer-causing chemicals
What can parents do?
Because JUULs are trendy and flavorful, teens may not understand how highly addictive they are and damaging to their health. Parents can help by –
- Learning about the different shapes and types of e-cigarettes and the risks of all forms of e-cigarette use among teens.
- Talking to your teen about the risks of e-cigarette use and expressing firm expectations that your teen remain tobacco-free.
- Setting a positive example by being tobacco-free.
- Most of all, talk to your teen. If you feel like you’re not getting through, ask your doctor to discuss the dangers of smoking and e-cigarettes at your teen’s next doctor’s appointment.