After years of decline in smoking by U. S. Teens (only 8% of Fulton County teens smoke), a new e-cigarette called Juul is introducing a new generation of teens to nicotine addiction and leading some teens to smoking regular cigarettes. Juul is an electronic cigarette designed to look like a flash drive and offers removable cartridges with various “fun” flavors such as mint, crème brûlée, mango, and fruit medley. These are sleek and small, easy to hide, rechargeable and they look just like a typical USB drive.
Scientists and researchers are worried about the nicotine in Juul. Research shows that nicotine is damaging to the developing brain of teenagers and is addictive. The Juul can deliver a very high concentration of nicotine and are a path of addiction for teens.
In a recent article published in the journal Pediatrics, scientists found higher levels of cancer causing chemicals in the bodies of the teens that vape e-cigarettes, compared to teens that do not. Fruit flavored products had the highest level of the chemical acrylonitrile, a highly poisonous compound used in manufacturing plastics, adhesives and synthetic rubber. Other chemicals found were acrolein, considered toxic to humans when either inhaled or exposed to the skin. Propylene oxide and crotonaldeyde were also found and are probable carcinogens according to the EPA.
Fulton County teens are reporting that kids are using this product during school, in class while the teacher is looking away, in the hallways and often in the bathrooms. Since 2012 Fulton County youth reported a 10% increase in the number of students who use e-cigarettes (2016 Fulton County Health Status Report). As the number of reported incidents of teens vaping in our Fulton County schools increases, teens and parents need to be warned that not only are these products addictive, the vapor produced by e-cigarette products like Juul and others is not harmless water vapor, but contains some of the same toxic chemicals found in regular cigarettes.