When electronic cigarettes were first introduced a decade ago, they seemed like a *slightly* better alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes: less mess, less smell, less cancer-causing substances to be inhaled, same nicotine high. While the “benefits” of “vaping” instead of “smoking” may be true, the fact is that nicotine addiction is still bad for you, even if it comes without that traditional cigarette-smell stigma and a super cool smoke that looks more like steam. And, as vices do, this one has found it’s way to HUGE popularity with today’s teens, thanks to a sleek e-cigarette called the JUUL. Now, all the cool kids in school aren’t vaping, they’re JUULing.
So what IS JUULing?
JUULing is simply smoking an e-cigarette, but a specific one, the JUUL. The JUUL is super-popular among teens because it is so VERY easy to conceal; it is virtually smokeless, and looks exactly like a USB drive your kid might use to transfer information from their home computer to their school computer.
If you’re not up on the latest in electronic cigarettes (and if you don’t smoke, why would you be?), it’s very easy for your kids to hide these from you in plain sight. The colorful nicotine pods come in flavors like mango and creme brulée, and if you smell THAT on your kids, you’re probably just going to think it’s gum or candy. JUULing has become so popular among high school students, and so easy to conceal, that schools are having to take super-specific measures to STOP JUULing at school.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported last week that a principal at an Annapolis, Maryland high school had ordered stall doors removed from school toilets to stop students from taking JUULing breaks during their bathroom breaks. (How removing stall doors can be legal, I don’t know, but apparently it is!) Students are openly tweeting about their peers’ JUUL use, with one exasperated teen tweeting: “Hate when I see people using the toilets in the JUUL room at school,” and using the facepalm emoji for emphasis.
Still other schools have had to ban devices that JUULs can pass for. The Upper Dublin school district in eastern Pennsylvania has had to ban USB drives altogether because students were using school-issued laptops to charge their JUULs up for their next hit.
“The problem with the juuling device is they say they are manufactured for adults, but it is manufactured in a way that appeals to children,” Deborah Wheeler, the district’s superintendent, told the Virginian-Pilot. “Students don’t realize it is still dangerous and harmful to their health.”