It's Time For A Duel With JUUL
As our Safe Homes Smart Parents campaign kicks off, we think about all of the unhealthy trends facing our youth and what parents can do to protect their children. Right now, we are fired up about the 78% increase in e-cigarette use among high school students, as a result of JUUL Labs’ targeting of our youth. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, last year, 3.6 million U.S. youth use e-cigarettes. Talk to any teacher or parent of a teen and they will confirm the schools are overrun by JUUL and kids are showing real signs of addiction.
Some lucky ones will put away their JUULs before they’re addicted. But many are embarking on a lifelong addiction to nicotine. Many of those will continue to use JUUL for a considerable amount of time, and we simply do not know what consequences long-term use will have on their health.
What we do know is that e-cigarettes are not safe. And we know that nicotine use by children and teens negatively impacts their brain development. Among other things, it makes them more susceptible to addiction in general. The larger fear is they switch entirely to cigarettes and other tobacco products that are even more dangerous.
Not surprisingly, Altria/Philip Morris invested $12.8 billion in JUUL Labs. See a trend? Follow the money. Our children are being lured into something unhealthy and we as parents have the power to protect them. Your voice matters.
Who else can help to make a difference? Our children! Recently, a group of Seminole County students from Students Working Against Tobacco asked their county commissioners to increase the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes to 21, to keep stores near schools from selling them and to add a tax to e-cigarettes sales.
Who else can help? The media. Many of these points were shared in a Miami Herald letter to the editor submitted by me and Dr. Richard Thurer, Professor of Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Chair of the Tobacco-Free Workgroup in the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade. However, much to our disappointment, the letter was not printed. We hope media outlets across the State of Florida will join us in taking a stand against JUUL.
We are the people who spent years fighting Big Tobacco to protect our kids' health. If you are a student, parent, grandparent or close friend concerned about vaping, we invite you to contact us to see how we can work together to put a stop to this insanity.Peggy