JUUL is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 27.5% of high school children are vaping. To a teenager, JUUL is cool and harmless. It has a sleek design and resembles a flash drive. Vapes like JUUL, unlike traditional cigarettes, are extremely discreet, making it easy to hide their use and corresponding addiction from parents and teachers. JUUL doesn’t leave a harsh smell like cigarettes and the smoke plume quickly evaporates after a hit. Some teens get away with vaping in classrooms, but most can subtly JUUL in their school bathrooms or their bedroom. Flavors such as crème brulee and mango were aggressively marketed to teenagers on social media platforms before being banned from sale in many states, prompting JUUL to pull them from its website entirely. Unfortunately, the damage has been done and a new generation of nicotine addicts has emerged. Many teens cite the taste as a contributing factor towards their interest in, first use of, and dependence on JUUL.
The amount of pressure to vape has only intensified with every passing year. JUUL’s big tobacco-esque marketing campaigns directly targeted the youth market. Its social media advertisements showed young, attractive people having fun and socializing while vaping. JUUL also visited classrooms to “educate” students about the safety of its product is and how it is a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes. While JUUL has since changed its marketing tactics, largely in response to lawsuits, community outrage, and concerns regarding governmental regulations, their propaganda already reached and influenced the teenage market. Studies show teens, and even pre-teens, believe they are inhaling flavored vapor instead of addictive nicotine. JUUL has taken over schools, resulting in an inordinate amount of peer pressure to use the product and fit in. It is impossible to say no when everyone around you is vaping.
Teenagers simply do not understand the health risks of JUUL and nicotine addiction. Despite sharing similarities with cigarette addiction, JUUL is a completely different beast. Parents need to provide tools and resources for their kids to quit. The goal needs to be for teenagers to appreciate why JUUL is so harmful and the long lasting health impacts it poses so they can make the decision to quit. Parents need to be open and have an honest dialogue to help their kids realize how detrimental nicotine dependence is. We would like to think the same platforms JUUL used to misinform and entice teenagers can be used to educate and inform them of the risks. However, because information regarding risk and lack of safety is not anywhere near as glamorous and therefore unlikely to trend amongst teens, below are some tips on how to help your child stop JUULing.