Tobacco products hit a new low with e-cigarettes that look like USB flash drives
From Lincoln County Health Department
Teachers are used to dealing with disruptions in the classroom – things like passing notes, using cell phones, talking out of turn, etc. Teachers now have a new one to worry about – JUUL e-cigarettes. This alarming upward trend of kids smoking e-cigarettes or “vaping” is occurring in middle schools, high schools and college campuses nationwide.
Students could have these products in the classroom and discretely use them without the teacher even knowing. They are so small, they can be hidden in pens and highlighters and are often mistaken for USB flash drives. They can actually be charged on a laptop or computer.
These products comes in “kid friendly” flavors like cool mint, wild berry and mango. Flavoring these products has been a successful strategy in getting youth to use new tobacco products. In Wisconsin, 96% of middle schoolers say they probably wouldn’t try an e-cigarette – the most popular tobacco product among youth today – if it wasn’t flavored.
“Although much progress has been made in preventing cigarette use, electronic vapor products are the second most commonly used substance among Lincoln County youth,” says Judy Sargent, Public Health Nurse for Lincoln County Health Department and member of the Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition. “Twenty-three percent of high school students reported using an electronic vapor product in the past 30 days and only 43% of students consider these products to be harmful. Much work is needed to educate our youth and encourage them to make healthy choices.”
The state recently launched a new campaign called the “Tobacco is Changing” to raise awareness of how candy flavors and deceptive packaging are successfully luring kids into a lifetime of addition. You can learn more about the “Tobacco is Changing” Campaign and local tobacco prevention efforts at tobaccochanging.com. For more information contact Judy Sargent, Public Health Nurse at 715-539-1377.
For more information about Lincoln County Health Department’s programs and services, visit lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com or find us on Facebook. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.
A spokesperson for JUUL Labs stated, “JUUL Labs’ mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking by offering existing adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. JUUL is not intended for anyone else. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors, and it is in fact illegal to sell our product to minors. No minor should be in possession of a JUUL product.
“Our goal is to further reduce the number of minors who possess or use tobacco products, including vapor products, and to find ways to keep young people from ever trying these products. We approach this with a combination of education, enforcement, technology and partnership with others who are focused on this issue, including lawmakers, educators and our business partners.
“Nicotine is addictive. An individual who has not previously used nicotine products should not start, particularly youth. Recent science raises serious concerns about the adverse effect of nicotine on adolescent neurodevelopment.
We encourage parents to talk with their children about the dangers of nicotine. As a company we also continuously seek ways to contribute to this dialogue and knowledge base.”