E-Cigarettes trending among Delaware teens

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The Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising parents and teachers to be aware of a recent trend among youth known as “JUULing.” JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette that looks similar to a flash drive and can be charged in the USB port of a computer.

DOVER (DE): Delaware Health officials are issuing yet another warning. They say, “JUULs can be appealing to youth for a variety of reasons. Pods come in a variety of fruit and candy flavors, the devices can be difficult to distinguish from a real flash drive, and the vapor dissipates quickly instead of hanging in the air like a smoke trail.” This has caused concern among school administrators across the country as youth have taken to “JUULing” on school property, even in class.

According to a DPH press release, “a Truth Initiative study found that 37 percent of 15 to 24-year-old JUUL users are uncertain whether the product contains nicotine. The study also found that JUUL users don’t refer to use of these products as “e-cigarette use” or “vaping” but rather as “JUULing, which leads them to believe it is safer.”

“There is no safe form of tobacco,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Students are under the impression that “JUULing” is safe and that these products don’t have nicotine, however, that is not the case. We believe it is important to educate parents and teachers about this trend, and e-cigarettes in general, and that it is critical that students understand the dangers posed by JUULs and nicotine as well.”

According to the product label, just one pod used in a JUUL allows for 200 puffs and contains the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes. Nicotine is highly addictive and can affect the developing brains of youth. In less than five years, e-cigarettes and vape products have become the fastest-growing sector of the American tobacco industry. Nationally and in Delaware, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.

Among teenagers, experimentation with electronic or e-cigarettes became popular in 2015. According to the 2015 Delaware Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 23.5 percent of public high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past month, and 2.3 percent were smoking or “vaping” e-cigarettes daily. Dual use of tobacco products is also a concern. In Delaware, 32.5 percent of high school e-cigarette users reported also using cigars, and 27 percent reported also using cigarettes. In addition, 37 percent of e-cigarette users reported never smoking cigarettes before starting to use e-cigarettes.

In 2014, Delaware banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and a year later the state expanded the Delaware Clean Indoor Air Act to include prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic vapor devices in workplaces and indoor public place.

While research is under way to determine the health effects of e-cigarette usage, the aerosol from e-cigarettes contains harmful substances such as nicotine, lead products and cancer-causing agents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DPH is reaching out to schools, school nurses and wellness centers, and pediatrician’s offices with a Health Alert on the topic of “JUULing” and has increased social media messaging around the issue. The Division has previously developed targeted outreach campaigns to address e-cigarette use overall, and will continue to provide education in schools and the community. For more information on “JUULing” visit Tobacco Free Kids at: Tobacco-Free Kids on “JUULing”:
https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0394.pdf.

For more information e-cigarettes, visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm or for more information on what Delaware is doing to address youth tobacco and e-cigarette use, visit http://www.thedirtytruth.com or https://www.healthydelaware.org/Individuals/Tobacco/Vaping.

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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