The teen years are notorious for first-time experiences: first kiss, relationship, heartache, friend drama or maybe death of a loved one. Because of all the raging hormones, emotional rollercoasters, the constant stress of school and being aware of the future as well as trying to plan it out, it’s no wonder teens turn to certain behaviours to alleviate themselves from dealing with these overwhelming stresses.
Some people turn to friends to alleviate stresses and others turn to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking or drinking alcohol. Some smoke or drink for fun under the cracks of peer pressure, feeling like it won’t cause any harm.
There has been a rising number of teenagers who turn to vaping or “juuling,” in schools. A juul is an electronic cigarette in the form of a USB drive, that turns liquid (usually containing nicotine) into vapor. Because of its appearance, it has been easy for kids to sneak the device into schools or to bring it out in the public eye without question.
According to Time, “each juul cartridge which holds about 200 puffs, contains the amount of nicotine found in an entire pack of cigarettes.” It may be perceived as a harmless trend, but according to the CDC it has some harmful chemicals such as “Nicotine, Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease, cancer-causing chemicals, and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.”
Julieana Rodriguez, an 18 year-old senior in said that the trend is spiking, and might be as equivalent as smoking cigarettes, except it targets a younger audience. “I’m pretty aware of the trend. In fact, I was with my friend at a fair, and we were waiting in line while this kid who looked about 12 (years old) was talking about vaping from a juul. It was something I laughed at because it was obnoxious. It sounded like he was just trying to look cool. But I had no idea it could be harmful.”
In an online survey on Instagram, many kids voted yes on the question, “Are kids vaping/juuling at your school?” A student from SOCES High School voted yes, along with others who attend Van Nuys High School, Birmingham, Arleta and Cleveland High School. So, it seems it is well known throughout high schools of the valley. However, many college students who attend LAVC or CSUN, voted no. They obviously know better.
“We have heard kids talk about it and as security guards we try our best to make the grounds of this school as safe as possible. It’s why we’ve become a bit more strict, telling kids to go to class when they’re roaming the halls or checking the bathrooms every once in awhile. It’s an obvious trend that almost every adult has at least heard of. It’s our duty to keep kids in check and have the right mindset so we’re doing the best we can,” said Ramos, security guard of Champs Charter High School.
Despite the popularity of the trend, many students think that it is a foolish thing to do.
“They don’t need to do it at school, it’s completely stupid. If you have the utmost desire to smoke from a USB drive, then do it on your own time. You’re putting yourself in an avoidable situation if you get caught on school property. Are you really asking for trouble just to look cool?” said Katherine Sotelo, an 18 year-old senior.
The administration at CHAMPS have spoken a lot about this.
“We do what we’re able to do. Drug dogs come in unexpectedly, and we are alert when we hear that kids have snuck those devices in class. We are paying attention and doing the best we can to stop the problem and hone it down. If a student is caught with one, they will be punished,” said a counselor at CHAMPS Charter high school.
According to Dailey Herrald, Maine Township High school in Illinois is taking a different approach to handling the issue. Instead of fining students $25 when caught vaping or holding a vape, they are placing students under an educational program.
The FDA states that the way these vapes are advertised, whether on purpose or not, are easily targeted towards children. Many are labeled and designed to represent candy. For example: Vape Head resembles Warheads, Chill Purple Grape resembles Fanta Grape soda, and Unicorn cakes which is self-explanatory.
While the trend is rising, many students should be aware of the health effects of juuling/vaping. It isn’t simply harmless, and it is troublesome to do it in the school bathrooms. Schools are keeping their heads up, and are aware of any device that could harm a student and those around them while trying to keep students safe from jumping onto the bandwagon.