The National Institute for Drug Use reports that seven in 10 teens were exposed to e-cigarette advertisements, leading to e-cigarette usage among 1.4 million youths. In addition, there are over 7,700 unique flavors for e-cigs, with around 240 new flavors being added monthly. This extensive variety of flavors appeals to and is directly marketed toward youths. The emergence of vapes and JUULs among youths has led to an e-cigarette crisis that needs our attention.
The NIH reports that 86.8 percent of youth e-cigarette users range from those thinking these products contain only flavoring or water vapor to those having no idea. Anyone can buy a JUUL in Asheville from a kiosk in the mall or online without having to give an ID. The Asheville City Schools and Buncombe County Schools policy codes state that e-cigarettes are prohibited within schools and consequences may include restorative justice programs, but these programs are extremely vague, and there have been no signs of follow-through.
As a high school student in Asheville, I can verify that at least a few students JUUL in class every day. Students will take a hit of their JUUL and then exhale into their backpack or sweatshirt sleeve. Too many of these users don’t know the health determinants that they’re risking when they JUUL. Each JUUL pod contains 0.7 milliliters of nicotine (a highly addictive and very dangerous chemical). Each pod is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes. So as you can see, this “harmless and healthier” smoking alternative is neither harmless nor healthier.
Advocate for comprehensive and specific e-cigarette policies, so that we not only add regulations but also educate teachers, students and parents about the immense dangers that e-cigarettes are accompanied by.
— Ella Carlinnia
YES! (Youth Empowered Solutions)