JUULing In School
It was created to be an alternative to cigarettes. Or at least that’s what the description on the JUUL website, one of the biggest manufacturers of e-cigarettes, says. In reality, JUULs, and other vaping devices, have become a trend among teenagers.
“So, from 2017-2018, it looks like there has been a 75% increase in the number of high school students who report using it, where it is about 20% of high school students are now saying they have used an e-cig product in the past month, which is how people measure if they are currently a user of these things, and a 50% increase among middle schoolers, so 7th and 8th grade. The rates are fairly high,” explained Linda Ritcher, Director of Policy Research and Analysis at the Center on Addiction.
The Center on Addiction is a non-partisan, non-profit think tank focused on research on addiction.
According to Ritcher, while JUULs and other e-cigarettes product are marketed as alternatives to cigarettes, research shows a different trend.
“There is mounting evidence that a good portion of people that use e-cigs end up becoming dual users so they end up smoking traditional cigarettes, as well magnifying the amount of nicotine and all the harmful ingredients they’re ingesting,” said Ritcher.
JUULs look like oversized USB drives. For this reason, it’s very easy for students to “smuggle” them into school. According to Radio 101 reporter, Samuel Clark, most students have seen kids using vaping devices in or around campus.
A new policy introduced by Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools treats vaping devices as drug paraphernalia and a violation of the system’s code of student conduct. Whether this new policy will be enough to deter students from using vaping devices at school, that is yet to be seen.