In schools across America, there has been a growing epidemic among students: juuling. Juul is a company that produces e-cigarettes, originally intended to help adult smokers quit smoking, and high school juuling has been reported to have gone up, according to TruthInitiative. A Juul heats up a cartridge containing oil to create vapor, which then quickly dissolves into the air. Juuls resemble USB flash drives, and are small enough to fit in a closed fist. It is a common misconception among adolescent Juulers that they are only inhaling the colorfully tasting flavoring, instead of the actual nicotine, which is akin to a pack of cigarettes, or 200 puffs of a cigarette. Furthermore, according to TruthInitiative, nicotine during adolescence, early childhood, and young adulthood has long term effects on brain development, and can be a gateway to actually smoking cigarettes.
Unfortunately, many young adolescents in high schools and even middle schools juul at their schools, Franklin being no different than any other school in the nation in that regard. Nationally, 11.3% of high schoolers and 4.3% of middle schoolers used e-cigarettes, and 7% of teens ages 15-17 have reported using a juul, according to CNN. From the data provided, it is clear that juuling is appealing to teenagers and young adults. “The evidence is overwhelming that these products appeal to kids,” stated Matt Myer, president of the nonprofit group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in an interview with CNN. However, Juul labs has also stated that by helping people give up cigarettes completely, the company provides a life-saving service to current smokers, two thirds of whom are predicted to die from smoking-related illnesses.
At Franklin, opinions are split on whether juuling should be allowed, especially considering the new ruling put out by PPS that any student caught with an e-cigarette will be treated as if it they were caught with drugs, resulting in the same consequence.
For the sake of anonymity, the real names of the students interviewed for this article were omitted. When asked how frequently he juuls at Franklin, Sam simply stated that he juuled everyday. When later questioned on what he enjoys about juuling, Sam said that “The nicotine, the head rush, it calms me down. It’s definitely an addiction.” To students who did not juul, Sam stated that he did not care whether someone juuled or not, but asked others not to be impolite about him and other people who juul. Mark agreed with Sam on many points. He also juuls everyday at Franklin, and enjoys juuling because it gives him a head rush. Mark’s estimate of the school juuling population was slightly less than Sam’s, when he stated that “Probably like a quarter of the school juuls.” His final message to the anti-juulers was “Don’t be a [expletive] or a snitch.” On the other side of the argument are faculty concerned about Franklin students. Franklin Security Guard Adam Shaw opposes students juuling based on the health reasons. Shaw’s feelings on students juuling at Franklin are that “they don’t understand what they are putting in their bodies.” Shaw was asked if he sees people who juul frequently at Franklin, or if he knew any students personally who juul, to which he stated that he knew kids personally who juuled but couldn’t elaborate, and that “We get calls about juuling all the time. Any juuling/vape usage is classified as a drug or alcohol violation. I’ve seen many students juuling at Franklin.” Shaw’s advice to students who juul would be to stop, because “the kids don’t understand the long term effects of it because it’s new.”
The issue of juuling in schools is of great concern in modern day America. Many students from middle school to high school frequently juul at school, and can suffer the dangers of addiction because of it. Portland Public Schools and security guards like Shaw do their best to try and regulate juuling, but there is only so much they can do.
With an increasing number of students juuling in high schools across the country, parents and school officials worry about the health risks of juuling in students lives, while many students who juul seem oblivious to the consequence or are addicted.