Our criminal defense law firm represents adults and minors in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While the majority of our work is done in the Courtroom, we often act as advisors to parents regarding incidents involving their children which don’t always develop into criminal cases pertaining to the illegal possession of drugs, alcohol or even a gun or a firearm. One topic which has gained a lot of attention recently is “juuling” among high school age teens and even middle school students. Some educators and political leaders have classified it as a quick moving epidemic and are already taking steps to address it. I've written a previous article on this topic but wanted to focus this article on parents and their children.
Here are 10 things that every parent should know about vaping, especially if they have children in this target age group
- Juuling, also known as vaping, has become a very common practice among school age students and there are even some parents purchasing these devices for their children believing that it is a better alternative to traditional cigarettes and tobacco.
- Originally, vaping was marketed as a method to help tobacco smokers quit traditional cigarettes. These “e cigarettes” use a liquid cartridge which often contains a flavored vaped juice which can contain up to 16 milligrams (mg) of nicotine. These vape juices come in a variety of flavors depending on the brand and some even take food flavors such as French toast, peppermint, fruit, or coffee.
- New Jersey and Pennsylvania both maintain laws which prohibit the sale of cigarettes and e-cigarettes (which include vape pens) to minors. In New Jersey, however, minor is defined, for purposes of this cigarette law as anyone under the age of 21 while in Pennsylvania it is 18. While New Jersey law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing an e-cigarette or other smoking products, it is not illegal for a minor to possess it. This means that police won’t stop your young adult or child carrying a vape pen or even using it right in front of them!
- Many schools in New Jersey are addressing this juuling epidemic by installing vaping detectors in the bathrooms. In a survey of approximately 35 schools covering approximately 3600 students, almost 10% in grades 9-12 admitted to using e-cigarettes at least once. Many schools have started vaping awareness presentations to educate students and their parents regarding the dangers of addiction and other possible health risks. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse approximately 30% of e-cigarette users begin smoking within 6 months while only 8.1% of non-users started smoking.
- Almost 14% of vapers don’t know what is in the liquid that they are inhaling, while 66% believe that it is just flavoring. In reality, nicotine is a highly addictive substance and many students claim that their classmates who vape are already on a “smoking schedule.”
- A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California claims that teenagers who vape are 4 times more likely to use marijuana 2 years later. The study suggests that the use of these vape devices increases a teenager’s vulnerability to the use of marijuana, as nicotine, the stimulant found in tobacco, primes the brain’s reward system which ultimately enhances the pleasure gained from subsequent drug experiences, according to university researchers.
- Some New Jersey townships have created ordinances which prohibit teenagers under the age of 18 from vaping or using other battery powered smoking paraphernalia. One vape pod is equal to 200 puffs or approximately 1 pack of cigarettes.
- In addition to a possible nicotine addiction, there are also vape liquids which contain Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is ultra-concentrated marijuana that has been extracted from the buds and processed into vape liquid (juice) which can be inhaled.
- In addition to nicotine and marijuana addiction there are also some studies which indicate that the substances within many vape products such as propylene glycol can exacerbate asthma and allergies. There are even some studies which indicate that these substances break down into carcinogens within the body.
- For those teens inhaling these THC laced vape liquids, the effect is the same as smoking traditional marijuana. It can cause distortion of time, increased drowsiness, and euphoria. These liquids are highly concentrated and highs produced depend on metabolism, body composition, and a whole host of other factors.
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