Too Cool to Juul


Zoe Orechwa, Contributor

It’s a fact: teens get stressed. It’s high school. Parents yelling, piles of homework, and trouble with friends overwhelm teens. So the rise in the number of teens vaping today isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that the United States Food and Drug Administration is now calling it an “epidemic,” and they are considering banning all flavored e-cigarettes.

The FDA found that teenagers who start vaping are more likely to smoke regular cigarettes, further endangering their health. FDA Chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb blames e-cigarette companies for marketing to teens with a product that tastes good. “They also show that the nicotine in e-cigarettes is addictive and that the other chemicals added as part of the flavoring might be harmful,” said Gottlieb.

NBC news did a story on this epidemic, including interviews with teens, which you can watch here. No e-cigarettes are safe for teens, even though many teens believe they are no more detrimental to their health than junk food. Companies like Juul have tried to make vaping more discreet and cool for teens, which Gottlieb thinks contributes to the epidemic.

“I’ll be clear. The FDA won’t tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products,” Gottlieb said in the NBC story.

Gottlieb went on to say that FDA would be “cracking down” on the sales of vapes and related accessory products to underage buyers. He also said that the FDA might consider taking e-cigarettes off the market completely if manufacturers don’t do more to protect teenagers.

Although there has been a lot of concern over the risks of vaping, the long-term health risks of e-cigarettes are still unknown. A recent case study, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggests there are risks, including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, also known as “wet lung.” Doctors think the chemicals in the e-cigarettes, cause a reaction in the lungs that leads to breathing and lung-related failure. This has forced teens on to a breathing machine until their lungs able to recover.

The actual safety of the devices has even been in question, as we have seen multiple cases of the e-cigarette batteries bursting into flames in people’s pockets, injuring them and potentially scarring them for life.

What can teens do so they don’t buy into the hype?  Many choose other activities, such as sports or taking a brain break with a new hobby. Vaping can lead to addiction, and this habit costs roughly $16 to $32 every month, which starts to add up! Vaping has been marketed as “cool,” but teens are often taken advantage of by the companies that sell these products. E-cigarette companies use candy-like and fruity flavors to pull teens into smoking and buying their products.

Learn why many teens now believe its best to simply not to start vaping in the first place.