World "No Tobacco" Day
May 22, 2019 | View PDF
The focus of World No Tobacco Day, May 31, 2019, is on the negative impact tobacco has on people's lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease. I think most everyone realizes by now that smoking and second hand smoke is unhealthy for everyone, but what about electronic cigarettes? E-cigarettes come in many flavors that contain a chemical called diacetyl. When this chemical is heated and inhaled it causes a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways. This causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breathe. This is often called "popcorn lung."
According to the Campaign for Tobacco – Free Kids, Juul e-cigarettes have skyrocketed in popularity among youth across the United States since being introduced in 2015, leading to what public health officials have call a youth e-cigarette "epidemic". In 2018, e-cigarette use among high school students rose by 78 percent, and more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes – an alarming increase of 1.5 million students in one year.
Several factors have contributed to Juul's rising popularity with teens
• Juul e-cigarettes are sleek, high tech and easy to hide. They look like USB flash drives and can be charged in the USB port of a computer. They don't look anything like a traditional tobacco product. A Juul is also small enough to fit in a closed hand.
• Juul comes in flavors that appeal to youth, including mango, fruit, creme, mint, menthol and cucumber. Research shows that flavors play a key role in youth use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
• Juul appears to deliver nicotine more effectively and at higher doses than other e-cigarettes, increasing users' risk of addiction. The manufacturer has claimed that each Juul "pod" (cartridge of nicotine liquid) contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. However, research has found that many young Juul users don't know the product always contains nicotine, and many teens call use of the product "juuling," indicating they may not realize it is an e-cigarette or tobacco product.
• Juul and other e-cigarettes are addicting a new generation of kids and threaten the decades-long progress our nation has made in reducing youth tobacco use.
• A 2016 Surgeon General's report concluded that youth use of nicotine in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe, causes addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain.
Nearly 50% of Montana high school students have tired e-cigarettes and 23% are current users. This World No Tobacco Day, and every day year round, let's educate ourselves and our youth about the dangers of electronic cigarettes, vaping and JUULing.