Kick Butts Day takes place on March 20, 2019. This national day of activism empowers our nation’s youth to take a stand against the tobacco industry. The initiative expects more than 1,000 anti-tobacco events across our nation and the world.
This year’s campaign will focus on e-cigarette usage (juuling) among our nation’s youth. U.S. public health officials named youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic”. This trend is raising up our next generation with a harmful and addictive tobacco habit.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the organizer of the initiative, cigarette smoking among high schoolers nationwide has dropped to 8.1%. However, e-cigarette usage among high schoolers rose an alarming 78% in 2018 alone. This is 20.8% of the student population. Furthermore, this means in 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes. 1
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids encourages health advocates and youth to call for strong action to put a halt to the youth e-cigarette epidemic. Particularly, they urge the FDA as well as state and local governments to ban tobacco products the industry clearly markets to youth. This also includes flavored tobacco products such as e-cigarettes or Juuls that taste like gummy bear, mango and cotton candy. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, research shows that flavors play a key role in the appeal of tobacco products for kids. 1
Why are Juuls so popular among youth?
Juul electronic cigarettes released on the market in 2015. Using any type of e-cigarette or vape has skyrocketed. However, this particular brand remains the most popular among teens and young adults. Because it makes up more than half of e-cigarette sales, Juul usage is an immediate public health concern.
The manufacturer cleverly markets Juul e-cigarettes to appear techy, sleek, and easy to conceal. Furthermore, they look just like USB flash drives and can even charge in a USB port on your computer. The device is also small enough to fit in a closed hand. For decades we have preached about the dangers of cigarettes to our youth. Juuls, however, don’t look anything like the traditional tobacco products we urge kids to avoid.
Also, kids do not refer to using a Juul as “smoking,” but as “juuling,” further disassociating the trend from the dangerous tobacco usage that it is.
Juuling delivers nicotine faster, more efficiently, and at higher doses than other e-cigarettes. In return, this increases users’ risk of addiction. Each Juul cartridge of nicotine liquid (Juul pod) contains as much nicotine as whole pack of cigarettes. Many Juul users don’t realize the product always contains nicotine.
Why is juuling especially harmful for teens?
Not only is juuling dangerous for kids, but it may be even more so than for adults.
A 2016 Surgeon General’s report concluded that youth use of nicotine is unsafe, addictive and can even harm the developing adolescent brain. 2
Similarly, a report that was published by the JAMA Network after pediatric research concluded that e-cigarette use increases the risk of youth ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes later in life. 3
We encourage you to discuss tobacco usage including new trends like juuling with the youth in your life. For more resources, you can visit Kickbuttsday.org.
Our CCMH health providers are also dedicated youth advocates and are always willing to discuss tobacco use with you or your child. To find a CCMH provider to meet your needs, visit our online directory at http://ccmhhealth.com/directory.
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1 Torres, Gustavo. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Kicking Juul: Youth take action to reverse e-cigarette epidemic.19 Mar 2019.
2 United States. Public Health Service. E-cigarette use among youth and young adults : a report of the Surgeon General. 2016.
3 Watkins PhD, Shannon Lea; Glantz PhD, Stanton A. ; Chaffee, DDS, PhD, Benjamin W. JAMA Network. Association of Noncigarette Tobacco Product Use With Future Cigarette Smoking Among Youth in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, 2013-2015.