Schools take action as Juuls become more popular among students


Jacob DiCenzo

A Juul device and mango flavored pods are shown above. Juuls are illegal to purchase if under 18, but vaping has become an increased problem in schools.

Logan Bickerstaff and Dylan Scheel

Juuls and juuling, a very debatable topic, for the fact that Juuls are shown to the public as being healthy. But are they really?

Juuling is a form of vaping that takes up 33 percent of the E-cigarette market, according to the Truth Initiative, a website dedicated to stopping tobacco use among teens. E-cigarettes are supposedly  a “healthier” way of smoking, but they are just as likely to produce cancer as a regular cigarette. Many people believe that Juuls are healthier than cigarettes and other forms of smoking or vaping. Here at Freedom Middle School, many students have joined the bandwagon and started Juuling in the bathrooms or on school property.  The average “pod” of vape juice contains five percent nicotine and one pod contains the equivalent of twenty cigarettes worth of nicotine, states Truth Initiative.

Truth Initiative took a survey on kids who have obtained Juuls. The legal age to buy Juuls from a store is 18, but most people from the age of 12 to 17 buy their Juuls from stores, social sources, family, friends and the internet.

Schools are cracking down on vaping by putting smoke or vape sensors in the bathrooms. So, when a Juul is being used the owner of the sensor gets a notification on their phone. Schools have looked into the sensors, but few schools are taking the next step, due to price. The average price for one sensor is about $75. There are eight student bathrooms and four faculty bathrooms in Freedom Middle School. This means that if each bathroom got a sensor, it would cost $900. According to a Truth Initiative survey, the two most popular solutions in schools are to simply put more surveillance near bathrooms and around the schools. However, only 12 percent of the schools surveyed are actually using devices to monitor the air in their school bathrooms.

“We want to show students the negative impact [juuling] can have on their lives, so we can eliminate that in and out of school.” said Mr. Ryan Smith, Freedom Middle School principal.  Students have learned about vaping and smoking in their health classes so that they can be informed of the health effects.

Juul pods come in different flavors, like fruit, candy or mint, which can make them even more dangerous for young users. The youth who Juul are more likely to get addicted to vaping than smoking, because they might have flavors that suit them better. Some reasons students believe Juuling is more discreet than smoking are because of how small the juul is and how the smoke is scentless. This leads the students to believe that they won’t get caught. Nevertheless, students still continue to get caught.

Students think that if they Juul, they will become cooler, when in reality Juuling is killing them slowly. This is called attempting to gain “clout”, so that they will become cooler. Many people want this clout and want to be more popular, when studies have shown that Juuling can cause cancer. Juuling under the age of 21 in some places is illegal while in other places it is legal. At Freedom, anyone caught with possession of alcohol, drugs, or mood altering substances can be suspended, expelled, and face legal action, according to the school handbook.

The FDA even went to the extent of temporarily shutting down Juul. The FDA gave Juul and 4 other e-cigarette companies 60 days “to prove they can keep their products away from minors” as of Sept. 12, 2018, according to The New York Times. If these companies failed to or refused to do this task, their products would have been pulled from the market. The FDA reportedly also sent warning letters to multiple “brick-and-mortar” retailers as a way to try and crack down on e-cigarette sales to minors.