All that Glitters is Not Good: The Problem with Juul in School
A Juul is commonly used as a smoking alternative for adults. Its miniscule size makes it easy for travel and hard to detect, which makes it extremely challenging for teachers to stop students from using the e-cigarette in school. Many teachers cannot recognize it for its similar look to a flash drive. Its concealability is becoming a major issue for the use in school. Juul’s are mainly known for delivering more nicotine or more of a nicotine buzz than any other e-cigarette that is available on the market. Juul pods come in many different flavors such as Mango, Fruit Medley, and Mint, and each contain approximately five percent nicotine. Every pod that can be bought is equivalent to roughly one packs of cigarettes or 200 hundred puffs. Nicotine is not one of the most harmful chemicals to be ingested, but Mrs. Sara-Jean Stevens, LHS School Psychologist, says that there are substances that, “We are unsure about or that are not regulated, are dangerous to our bodies. There is a variety of research pointing to the potential dangers associated with Juuls and vaping. Those include, gateways to other risky activities, exposure to cancer causing agents and neurodevelopmental dangers.” Nicotine is a gateway to other drugs. This means that when one is exposed to Nicotine, it can eventually lead to the exposure and addiction of other drugs. According to Dr. Eric Kandel, a Drug abuse researcher at Columbia University, “In a recent national survey, over 90% of adult [drug] users between the ages of 18 and 34 had smoked [nicotine] before they began using cocaine. Researchers suspected that nicotine exposure might increase vulnerability to cocaine.” With teens using it in high school, the severity of nicotine’s addictive potential could lead to other very harmful drugs. Teens could feel as if the Juul, or e-cigarettes are not giving them the “buzz” that they want, so they turn to something stronger.
While none of the Lincoln High School students will be identified by name, students had a lot to say about the use of Juul’s coming to Lincoln. A junior at LHS added that they have seen many of their friends using them, “the amount of kids at our school that have a Juul has increased tremendously over the past couple of months.” They continued by saying that they “truly don’t understand everyone’s need to have one when a lot of people know the affects of them” Another student, a sophomore here at LHS adds to the discussion of Juul’s, admitting that they have seen people hiding their juuls from teachers. “I have seen many people use their Juul’s in the bathroom and almost any time when not under supervision.” This is becoming very common among high schools. According to USA Today, a suburban high school’s principal in Washington D.C. decided to remove all the doors off of the stalls in the bathroom in order to keep kids from using any sort of drug- mainly the Juul. Although this can be harmful with getting teens addicted to nicotine, this is not the only concern of teachers. In fact people are now using Juuls to vape other chemical compounds such as hash, cannabis, and butane hash oils along with other THC products (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Lincoln Principal Mr. Kevin McNamara adds his view on students using Juuls with cannabis oils. He says, “We are worried about student safety. We are worried about the students who may present one way normally, and may present very differently under the influence and may not be as rational, reasonable, or able to deal appropriately with situations.” Being under the influence of nicotine or other drugs during school hours can negatively influence the focus and learning of a student. Mr. McNamara continued to say how handbook policies and procedures will need to be adjusted as the new technology develops in order to keep LHS the most safe and productive learning environment possible. One piece of advice: Don’t Juul in schuul it doesn’t make you cuul, abide by the ruuls.