Dear Parents: That USB Drive On Your Kid’s Dresser Might Be a Cigarette

electronic cigarettes vaping

When it comes to tobacco use, there’s good news: cigarette smoking has been on the decline for years and is currently at an all-time low. But since good news seems to rarely come without a flip side these days, here’s the bad news I’m sure you were expecting: the tobacco industry is working hard to secure their successful future through the electronic cigarette. Their new preferred target customer (unofficially of course): teenage girls.

I had never given the electronic cigarette even a TINY thought before (what with all my focus on keeping our kids away from porn and not giving them social media access too soon) until I read an article yesterday from Rebecca Hession, the mom of a 16-year-old girl who just got a 3-day suspension and a court date for smoking an electronic cigarette at school. Aghast at her daughter’s choice, Hession started looking into the electronic cigarette, specifically the one her daughter was caught smoking (which belonged to another student.) She says:

“This vape is called JUUL.  Yes, pronounced “jewel”.  It’s the size of an ink pen and looks like a flash drive for your computer.  Are you starting to see who the target market is for this device?”

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electronic cigarette

“You need to be 21 to purchase a JUUL which doesn’t prevent my 16 year old from having one…The marketing promise of JUUL:  More of a “nicotine kick” than a traditional cigarette.  This produces an instant high.  And the Juulpods that contain the nicotine salts and e-juice come in Cool Mint, Fruit Medley, Creme Brule and Virginia Tobacco.

So there you have it.  The cool girls cigarette in all the right flavors.”

electronic cigarette

Hession then took all her newfound knowledge about electronic cigarettes and the knowledge she’s gained in 15 years of business consulting and hit her daughter with a HUGE truth. One we should ALL share with our kids. She told her:

“Did you know that the smoking rates have been on the decline for years.  They are the lowest they’ve been since cigarettes were introduced.  This means the stop smoking messages are working. 

And smoking is a business.  The tobacco industry is a business.  They are losing sales.

Somewhere a group of most likely men got together in a board room to formulate a strategy to increase their sales and save their business. 

I am a consultant, I help businesses create these types of strategies.  I picture the conversation went something like this….

‘Okay boys we’ve got to get the sales back up.  We’re in trouble.  We need a target market.  We need a customer for life.  The younger we can get someone using a tobacco product the longer we’ve got their money.’

And there is where the JUUL idea was born.  The teenage girl cigarette.”

So parents,  if you’ve got teens, whether they ar boys OR girls, sit down and talk to them about this dangerous habit. Even though smoking can now taste good, smell better and look cooler, it’s still addictive and REALLY BAD FOR YOU! But since your kids no longer have to hack and cough and choke on a smelly Marlboro, they are more likely to try it. So TALK to them about it.

AND? As Hession says keep your eyes peeled. Because “That USB drive on your kid’s dresser might be a cigarette.”

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Read Rebecca Hession’s entire article here — it’s fantastic!


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.