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The Dangers of E-Cigarettes and the Growing Popularity with Teens

  Disclosure: This post and giveaway is in parternship with ConsumerSafety.org. As always, opinions are all my own. 


My oldest son recently started 10th grade and with that comes a lot of stress and worry for us as parents. One thing I hadn’t really thought of and considered was smoking. My mom passed away from lung cancer when I was sixteen years old, and I always told my children the dangers of tobacco while sharing with them the truth about my moms passing. I never thought any of them would touch cigarettes and never in my mind did an e-cig pop into my head. Why would any teenager want to smoke let alone use or have access to an e-cig?

I was shocked to find out last month that e-cigs are the new cool thing to do in school and while we all think we are raising our teens to be independent and strong individuals the peer pressure and the need for our teens to fit in and not be the odd man out is a serious issue. JUUL-ing is a serious problem, and although as parents we think we know everything our kids are doing – this isn’t something I ever thought I’d have to deal with.

While advertised as a cheaper and safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, many people have filed lawsuits against JUUL claiming that the products caused health problems such as nicotine addiction and injuries from device malfunctions.

What is in Juul Pods?

The FDA is cracking down on manufacturers, requiring them to register the ingredients in their products, list nicotine content, as well as many other modifications to warn users of their health effects. JUULpods, in addition to other e-cigarettes, contain various levels of nicotine.

? 3% strength (0.7ml with 3% nicotine by weight, ~23 mg per pod based upon 35 mg/ml)
? 5% strength (0.7ml with 5% nicotine by weight, ~40mg per pod based upon 59 mg/ml)

Important Statistics:

  1. One JUUL pod contains around 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine, an equivalency of up to two packs of traditional cigarettes.
  2. A 2017 report from the CDC found that 3 out of every 100 middle school students and 12 out of every 100 high school students reported using electronic cigarettes.
  3. According to this study, electronic cigarette use has been found to be higher among boys. In 2015, statistics showed that 6% more boys used e-cigarettes than girls.
  4. Children who use e-cigarettes have a 30% higher chance of smoking traditional cigarettes within the next six months of initial use.

Do you think your teen may be using an e-cig? or want to nip it in the bud before it even has a chance to begin? Here are some ingredients you may want to share with them:

Ingredients in JUUL pods include the following:

  • Glycerine: Naturally occurring colorless, odorless liquid chemical.
  • Propylene Glycol: This is an odorless, colorless, synthetic liquid that helps absorb water. The FDA has deemed this chemical as an additive that is “generally classified as safe,” However, studies show the health effects of glycol-based theatrical fog have been linked to acute and chronic respiratory effects.
  • Extracts and Flavor: A 2018 study in Pediatrics found that tobacco and fruity e-cigarette flavors contain high amounts of cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Benzoic Acid: Commonly added to food and beverages as a preservative. While the FDA has not officially deemed benzoic acid safe for consumption, it is used frequently in manufactured products to inhibit the growth of both bacteria and fungi.
  • Nicotine: Nicotine is a chemical found in the leaves of the tobacco plant and equals anywhere between 0.6% and 3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco. Nicotine and tobacco are highly addictive, especially for adolescents, and even the smallest of doses can impair your health. When using other ecigarettes you do have the option to use an eliquid that has 0% nicotine, you can see some of those eliquids at Gourmet eLiquid.

In the spirit of being 100% transparent with you all, which I am always here – I found my son partaking in this new trend of e-cigs and quickly put a stop to it. Not only are these things dangerous to his health, but he also has 7 siblings that are looking up to him and think everything he does as cool. E-cigs are far from cool.

Something I feel I must share is my oldest and I are very close. He came to me and told me himself he was doing this, we had a long discussion and his reasoning while I know he found very valid, make a parent scream in horror. Everyone else is doing it, so they must too, right? The last thing we all want as parents is our kids to feel like outsiders, while everyone else is doing something them be left out – but when it comes to things like this, it’s necessary we educate our children and arm them with the knowledge they need to best use their own judgment and make their own decisions. I’d be lying if I said when we tell our teens to do something they listen — that isn’t the case at all. Usually, when we tell them not to they do it anyway, especially if its something they do socially. So giving them the information they need to figure it out on their own may very well be all we can do.

I did just that. I shared with my son all the staggering statistics, the scary facts and how not only did his grandmother die just two years before he was born due to tobacco and the contents in cigarettes, but I told him I was extremely disappointed in him. The long-term side effects from JUUL include Deterioration of lung tissue, Effects on brain development, Lung disease, Chronic bronchitis, Insulin resistance all of which a 15-year-old doesn’t need to be thinking about let alone worrying about because of his own decisions based on peers.

While E-cigarettes “go down smoother” due to a lack of tar and other harmful substances that traditional cigarettes contain. This plays a major role in their addictiveness. Each JUUL pod contains 59 mg/mL of Nicotine; according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is “double the concentration of nicotine found in other e-cigarettes.”

As parents, we need to be sure these products are not in the hands of our youth. For more information please visit, HERE.