Parent Guide to Juuling (Vaping)

 

Strong Virginia tobacco, menthol, mint, crème, fruit, mango, and even cucumber, Juul offers a rainbow of vaping flavors.

Teenagers in masses are blowing fruit filled clouds with their battery-powered e-cigarettes.

Apple puffs of air seem so harmless, almost like Willy Wonka was involved. But maybe it was his evil twin, because Juuling is not harmless.

Small enough to disappear in a hand or slipped into a hoodie pocket, Juuls offer the middle school and high school crowds covert vaping options.  On the bus, in the less trafficked stairwell, where adult supervision is nowhere in apparent sight, the younger generation is getting their nicotine fix.

According to the American Heart Association, Juuls, one of the best-selling e-cigarette products, contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. “Nicotine not only causes adverse health outcomes but is also highly addictive, so it is possible that the use of Juuls or e-cigarettes could become a gateway for smoking traditional cigarettes,” said Dr. Amy Weiss, USF Health pediatrician specializing in Adolescent Medicine,

“We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

What is a parent to do? 

Most teenagers don’t know that vaping is harmful. The fruit flavors cause confusion, that it’s only water and flavoring. They are unaware that it contains nicotine, or so they say.

“I think both their sweet, fruity flavors and their design (they look like a flash drive, so when they first came out parents had no idea what they were) contribute to the popularity of Juuls among teenagers,” said Dr. Weiss.

It’s important to talk to your kids about the health concerns of nicotine products, such as vaping, e-cigarettes, and cigarettes.  Modeling healthy living, not smoking, exercising and eating right are all great life-long habits to instill in your kids.

Are there signs your teenager is vaping, beyond a fruit or traditional smoker smell?

  • Dry Mouth – Drinking more
  • Need for flavor – adding salt and hot sauce
  • Nosebleeds
  • Irritated skin or Acne
  • Cutting back on Starbucks (caffeine)
  • Coughing or sore throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Finding an unfamiliar USB drive or charger

How concerned should a parent be?

JuulPods contain an e-liquid formula of nicotine, an addictive toxic substance that increases your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, causing your heart to race, which can lead to a heart attack.

“E-cigarettes also contain several other toxins and chemicals, many of whose long-term effects are unknown but could cause cancer or other serious illness,” said Dr. Weiss.

“Another big issue is the lack of regulation of these products. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is advocating for tougher regulation, and even the FDA is now working toward stricter regulation of e-cigarettes.”

It is essential for parents to be informed about the potential harm of Juuling to the health of our teenagers.  Please contact our pediatric team at USF Health, specializing in adolescent and young adult medicine at (813) 259-8700, if you have health concerns about your child.

Written By: Kathleen Rogers

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