CHS responds to the newest nicotine trend sweeping the school: the JUUL

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In 2017, it is unlikely to walk into a CHS restroom and see a student looking to sneakily smoke a cigarette, but that does not mean students are not smoking. Rather, students are far more likely to get their nicotine fix by “juuling.”

In June 2015, James Monsees and Adam Bowen released the JUUL, their take on the e-cigarette. Although aiming to offer a better alternative to smoking among adults, the JUUL has since soared in popularity and created a serious growth in nicotine patterns among teenagers, including those at CHS, leading to an increase in health issues and overall chronic harm.

The product has become ubiquitous at CHS, forcing administration to take action against teenage JUUL use to help regulate underage nicotine consumption. The JUUL poses a major threat to the community.

“I have witnessed this abuse at CHS,” said campus supervisor Bob DiPanni. “About last week in the restroom I caught four students with a device and brought them to the administration for disciplinary action.”

Before the JUUL was released, teenage tobacco use was declining. According to the National Institute for Drug abuse, an average of 35% of students used tobacco products in 1966 and then only 15% in 2014. Although electronic cigarettes have been a factor in reversing this trend, the JUUL has dominated the market because of its portability, accessibility and sleek aesthetic design. While other e-cigarettes boast similar features, the JUUL wears the crown of most popular.

“Other students have told me they love the JUUL because the package has an interesting design, the product does not require a lighter and it is charged through a USB, making it the easiest way to smoke,” said junior Nikki Corton.

Students also love the JUUL because it is arguably the easiest nicotine product to hide. The JUUL is designed to look like a flash drive and releases no odor when smoke is exhaled.

“We are aware that students wait for teachers to look away and take a hit because it is easy to hide in the palm of their hand,” said CHS principal C.J. Foss. “We know they are doing this, but we cannot punish them without a teacher witnessing the act or concrete evidence.

Although this product was intended for adults as an alternative to smoking, teenagers are currently illegally obtaining and abusing the devices. The JUUL is largely responsible for reversing a downward trend against nicotine.

JUUL’s advertisements stress the fact that the product is a safer alternative to cigarettes. However, most teenage users are unaware of its consequences to their health.

“Smoking four JUUL pods (or 200 ‘hits’) is equal to an entire pack of cigarettes, and is concerning because the carcinogens in the device include propylene glycol, the same chemical as anti-freeze,” said Doctor Lester Hartman in an interview with “Boston 25 News.” “I’m seeing kids starting to get this—I’m seeing the marketing has entered into the kids and I’m seeing parents have no idea about these things.”

Unaware of these many risks, students are easy targets for these advertisements. Many CHS students lack the facts of the true harm that this drug causes.

“I think that juuling has become more common than smoking regular cigarettes,” said an anonymous CHS student. “I always heard juuling wasn’t that unhealthy or dangerous since everyone, especially high school students, was doing it.”

Students are completely uninformed of the health conditions that develop from using this product. These illnesses can remain throughout the users’ entire lives. Nicotine is known to harm the respiratory, gastrointestinal, reproductive and cardiovascular systems. Nicotine is also highly addictive, and may cause a lifelong addiction for teenagers.

“The JUUL will only increase the level of underage nicotine use,” said CHS health clerk Ms. Jennifer Fisher. “Acting as a gateway drug, this product will lead students to continue searching for higher doses of nicotine and stronger drugs in the future.”

Teachers and local officers face a new responsibility to warn against and regulate underaged consumption of nicotine. With a growing popularity in teen “juuling,” schools must find ways to punish use on school property and educate students to deter use outside of school. Recognizing this growing threat, CHS administration is working to eliminate this trend.

“We have had about four incidents this year and two last year,” said Foss. “We have taken away the device, but it’s complicated because the product can be almost smokeless. The education code states that students can not have any tobacco or drug related paraphernalia, including e-cigarettes so we do have the right to ask those we suspect to empty their pockets and search their backpacks.”

CHS administration takes the same measures that would be taken if another tobacco product were found; the school contacts law enforcement if a student is visibly altered. Punishments grow progressively worse for each offense. The first step is an interview with assistant principal, then a call home, followed by trash pick up, then a Saturday work program and finally in-house or regular suspension.

The CHS community realizes it must work together to solve this widening issue. By educating students on the lifelong effects posed by this product and enforcing strict punishments the high school can reduce underage “juuling” on campus. Finding a feasible way to reduce this trend is necessary, especially with the recent introduction of the JUUL-like product, the Sourin, with even more nicotine.

“It is extremely inappropriate that so many students are juuling on campus,” said ASB president Jacob Turobiner. “I think it is important for the entire CHS community to communicate with one another to end this trend.” •

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CHS responds to the newest nicotine trend sweeping the school: the JUUL