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The Administration Vs. The Juuling Epidemic

Lauren Dooling

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As the school year continues, the problems with e-cigarettes and vaping both in school and out has become a more serious issue that Principal Thatcher has felt the need to address in order to keep the students at C. Milton Wright safe.  

This new technology, although not so new after all, has become a craze that many young people have adopted. Now the technology’s not completely new anymore, but it’s a new addiction for many students who started using them when the product was first introduced.  

Many see devices such as Juuls and they see a safe cigarette. They might think this is new and a cool option, but the companies behind the product are adopting tactics that are getting young people hooked on an unsafe lifestyle and many young adult users may not understand the dire, life-long consequences.  

Mr. Thatcher sees this new trend and commented that “the evolution of e-cigarettes and vapes and Juuls and whatever you want to call it, a bunch of different devices some I don’t even know the names for. It’s just as glamorous as tobacco and cigarettes were in the 70’s to kids. Why? I don’t know.” 

In the news, many people have speculated that the companies for these e-cigarettes and how they market their products have something to do with this sudden use by young kids and Mr. Thatcher agrees. He mentioned that what he thinks is happening is that “the advertisers are targeting the youth.”  

One way they could be doing this is by marketing the sweet tasting flavored juices to put into an otherwise bad tasting, nicotine filled device. Another way is through the nice, sleek designs and colorful advertisements that also feature young models using the products.  

Along with these reasons is the fact that “some companies are touting that they aren’t dangerous” Mr. Thatcher mentions. When these devices were first put on the market, consumers raved about consuming a product that was a safer alternative.  

The problem this poses though is because the product is so new to the public, scientists don’t know the long term affects. All they know is that they aren’t good, and these products aren’t really any safer than smoking a normal cigarette.  

According to the U.S. Surgeon General “e-cigarette (ENDS, ESD, “Vape”) use is not harmless and poses a significant – and avoidable-health risk to young people in the United States.”  

Teenagers and young adults don’t realize the harm they are doing to their bodies when using these e-cigarettes or vapes. Even some studies have found that 60% of young people didn’t realize that Juuls even had nicotine in them.  

This is a serious issue especially since students could be smoking from these different devices just to try it out, without realizing what they contain and how addictive the product really is. Mr. Thatcher explains this through the fact that “Kids are lined up to take hits off these things, they don’t even know what’s in them.”  

This shows how harmful these new cigarettes are and the problem they are presenting in schools is getting increasingly worse as more young students become addicted at even younger ages.  

Mr. Thatcher told me that “we have had a significant number of suspensions at CMW related to vaping, juuling, e-cigarettes. Across the county, referrals to the county are up 200% according to Bill Wiseman, Director of Public Health Education.”  

This means that more and more students are not only using these extremely dangerous products, but that they are also bringing them and using them in school. Mr. Thatcher thinks “there must be hundreds of them in the building every day.” 

“When students are caught with any type of vape or e-cigarette it’s a three strike and you’re out policy”.  

The first time that a student is caught the student receives a five-day suspension but “it can be taken down to a one day if you agree to the [drug awareness] class.” After a second offense the individual is automatically suspended for five days. Although the third time a student is caught, they are suspended for ten days and they are referred to the superintendent for their action.  

Mr. Thatcher also mentioned how he wants to get parents involved in order to make them aware of the problem and how they can keep their children safe. He plans to show the devices that he’s collected, which is a cart full of a variety of different devices, to the PTSO and the Project Graduation parents. He thinks that if parents know the danger of these products, then they can help prevent this issue. He noted that “part of it is education”; people need to understand what’s going on and the consequences for these actions.  

The FDA has passed a law that will stop allowing convenience stores and gas stations to sell any more flavored nicotine products. Although many see this as an end to underage use of these products Mr. Thatcher says that “everything takes time, but I think it will be a positive step”. 

Although this is a difficult topic because the problem seems too big to solve, it is a major issue and Mr. Thatcher felt the need to address it in order to stop students from getting hooked on nicotine to keep everyone at C. Milton Wright safe.

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