Education Week, an American education news site, published an article, “Use of Juul device makes vaping hard to detect” by Evie Blad. According to her article, kids have rejected smoking, but replaced it with vaping. Search news articles on vaping, or Juuling, in the class and you will find every area of the U.S. is dealing with the problem.
Cigarette packs in purses and pockets have given way to a small device easily hidden in the palm of the hand, tucked into a backpack or a pocket. Users are puffing away in bathrooms, hallways, and classrooms seemingly undetected. The devices are being placed in hollowed-out markers, and charged right in the classroom on laptops with a USB device. And school administrators have dealt with this problem all year.
What is the attraction, other than getting away with something you shouldn’t be doing in class? Marketed as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes for adults who want to quit smoking, it has the highest amount of nicotine you can buy. According to students, “you get a super buzz off of it.” If the buzz wasn’t enough to get you hooked, the flavors are another attraction. The device is so popular, Juul currently holds about 60% of the e-cigarette market. Some kids who once loved the novelty of the devices say they became addicted quickly and are trying to quit. Studies have also shown that vaping may lead some teens to start smoking.
Right now smoking is down to record low numbers for 8th, 10th and 12th graders, according to Monitoring the Future, a national student survey conducted by the University of Michigan. In 2017 the number of students who reported smoking a cigarette in the last 30 days was at 5.4%, while vaping was at 12% in that same time period. However, smoking numbers could increase again as students turn back to using tobacco as their addiction to nicotine increases.
In April, the FDA announced a nationwide effort to crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and demanded data from Juul Labs to understand the design of the product and the marketing practices. Juul, in turn, has announced “$30 million in prevention efforts targeted to youths” and has asked for states to raise the purchase age for tobacco to 21.
One of the concerns about vaping is there is no research on the long-term effects. The vaping industry markets the products as “safer” and “less harmful” than smoking cigarettes, but many of the newer devices contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, as well as other other harmful chemicals which are not listed on the product.
It used to be that in any school only a certain group of teens would smoke; vaping has changed that. While some parents have purchased vaping devices for their kids because they were led to believe it was safer than smoking, most parents aren’t aware of their child’s use. Teens are vaping in their rooms at home, and the smell is hard to detect.
Some schools are going beyond suspensions and offering “cessation and counseling efforts to help students quit and to make them aware of potential hazards. Palm Beach County Schools will be offering a 10 point professional development course to Palm Beach educators on e-cigarettes and vaping for SY2019 school year. In addition, new information will be added to both the 30- and 60 point Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course that will be offered in the fall for any educator in Florida with a current Florida Department of Education teaching certificate. After taking the course, teachers will required to teach six (6) tobacco prevention classes to their students. The courses are at no cost to educators, schools or districts.
The greatest power we have against any threat to our students is to provide them with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their future.
Click HERE for the article from Education Week