Recently, Joy Gonnerman, Prevention Specialist from Jackson Recovery educated members of the Ida County Medical Reserve Corps and staff at Horn Memorial Hospital on vaping with an emphasis on the use of JUUL. When the group was asked, ‘have you heard the term JUULing?’ not one person raised their hand.
We are all familiar with e-cigarettes. They are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine in an aerosol form. They were designed to mimic the experience of smoking cigarettes. Vaping is the umbrella term for using e-cigarettes, vaping devices, JUULs and personal hookas. Vapes are NOT a fad. From 2011 to 2015, use by high school students increased eight fold. As of early 2014, there were 466 brands of e-cigs and almost 8,000 unique flavors of liquid nicotine on the market, with no labeling or testing requirements.
But in a constantly evolving market, as technology has evolved so has the appearance of these devices. Newest on the market is JUUL, a high tech, easily hidden vaping device. So what’s so different about JUUL and why be concerned? Its vapor production is negligible, making its use undetectable. Its slick, steel color blends with other devices. It is charged in any computer. And it is being marketed to youth.
Why is JUULing particularly popular with youth? Youth are naturally curious and inclined to try new technology. The flavors are marketed to youth like: bubble gum and fruit medley. They are perceived as healthier/safer than cigarettes. They are easy to hide and use in public.
JUUL also has its own labs that use nicotine salts instead of the free-based nicotine of other vaping liquids. This means there is more nicotine in a smaller “low profile” package and the addiction to nicotine is much faster. One pod of JUUL contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
If adults know what to look for, what to listen for and the facts about a JUUL device, we may be able to slow down its advancement in the youth market and keep kids nicotine free, while their adolescent brains are still developing. Adult awareness can go a long way toward protecting our youth.