Bathrooms looking a little cloudy at North

Tanna Schloesser and Jimmy Johnson, Reporter

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Juuls look like USB drives and can be easily disguised

High school culture has changed much throughout the decades, and so have the lifestyles of many students.  Vaping among the youth has become a rapidly hazardous trend.

“They hide it in their hoods or in their sleeves. And when the teacher isn’t looking they take a hit and hold in their breath, so the smoke doesn’t come out…They use it everywhere.” *Brittany, a senior at North, describes how kids Juul. “I’ve seen kids take hits right across from me in classrooms.”

Since its launch in 2015, the JUUL has increased in popularity. Many JUUL users, including underaged high schoolers all over the nation, have become accustomed to using them in public places. Not only are they small and effortless to conceal but they can also easily be mistaken for a flash drive, making it easy to not get caught by parents, coaches, and teachers. The CDC is calling vaping products a public health concern and just recently they have called JUULing an epidemic.

When the generations above us were in High School, smoking was a cultural icon.  Kids wanted to be like the cool celebrities smoking on tv and in movies.  It was a ritual for some and was something people would openly display, they sometimes even had smoking rooms in schools for students and staff.  Of course, it was not healthy for them, but it was something that had been thought of as cool, up and through the 90’s that lured kids into wanting to do it.

There is a clear contrast to that of kids back then and kids now, cigarettes are disgusting and horrible for us, but vaping is the cool thing to do and is ‘better’ for us.  That is what many will use as an excuse to hide away from the fact that there is not finished long-term research on vaping.  Kids these days are not vaping to be cool, but vaping to get buzzed which is the slang name for a nicotine high. This buzz can then lead to overuse and eventually addiction.

Most of the time, kids who are use JUULs and other vaping products in classrooms use them not because they feel the need to rebel against their teachers or adult supervisors, but because they have slowly become addicted to them and getting that nicotine buzz. They slowly get addicted to the nicotine in each JUUL pod, the replaceable piece the holds the nicotine and the ejuice.  The average amount of nicotine in one pod is 5%. That is the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs. And according to medicalnewsdaily.com, nicotine can be as difficult to give up as heroin.

“I don’t do it in class because it’s funny, I do it because I’m addicted.” says *Rebecca a Fargo North senior. “I rarely use it and I try not to, but it’s hard when you’re addicted…If I don’t use it or run out of pods I get cranky or really moody.”

Some kids can go through a pod every day or two and after sucking on a JUUL all summer and coming back to school many kids are having withdrawals. These withdrawals include headaches, craving, and insomnia according to webmd.com. And depending on long you’ve been using nicotine filled products these withdrawals can last from several days to several weeks. These symptoms lead kids to use them on school property such as in their cars, in the bathrooms, or even in classrooms. Not only do they have withdrawal symptoms but they have many side effects that are still being studied.

In high school and even middle school, many students have been caught with vape devices that they carry on them all day. And of course, using these products and getting caught can have grave consequences. A picture or video of you or someone around a minor who is using a JUUL can get you suspended from a school sport for up to two weeks or two contests. And getting caught using one yourself, for the first time, can get you suspended for a minimum of six weeks. You can also get in trouble with state law enforcement. According to the fargond.gov if you get caught possessing or selling tobacco under the age of 18 you must pay a $25 fee within 60 days and attend a tobacco education program. This fee is even more expensive if you’re caught in using it on school grounds.

Recently, the FDA has announced they are cracking down on Juul and e-cigarette retailers.  If the company’s who produce these devices cannot do something to prevent all the cases of kids being caught with them, the FDA will completely remove the Juul from the market as well as several criminal charges to retailers for selling to minors.

This is, of course, a huge development in the plot, will these companies do something about minors in possession of their products?  And if so, would there ever be enough they could do to prevent the selling for their products to minors?

*Names have been changed

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Bathrooms looking a little cloudy at North