Late at night, heading back to campus after hanging out in downtown Atlanta, my friends and I encountered a “food truck” crowded with seemingly young students. The vehicle was decorated with colorful designs that read ‘strawberry’, ‘mint’, and ‘grapes’. At first, I had no doubt that they were selling some tasty desserts. However, with a closer look, I realized that they were flavors of Juul, a brand of e-cigarettes that is popular among adolescents. Both the person selling Juuls at the truck and the young teenagers in line for those Juuls seemed to be very excited. The question here is, are they okay to be just excited?
Of course they are not. E-cigarettes mimic the taste of real cigarettes, and there is a social perception that they are much less harmful to your body than the real ones. However, Jason Daley from Smithsonian News informs us that, “besides leading to a nicotine addiction, vaping may be exposing teens to chemicals linked to cancer”. Also, nicotine levels in e-cigs can be higher than in traditional tobacco products and can make users more likely to use the real thing, a study from National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found. Underage vaping should be strictly prohibited for this reason. Like other drugs such as marijuana or alcohol, nicotine has a different impact on a developing brain than on the brain of an adult. The prefrontal cortex is often at increased risk in teens who use substances because it doesn’t finish developing until around age 25. Brain imaging studies of adolescents suggest that those who begin smoking regularly at a young age have markedly reduced activity in the PFC and perform less well on tasks related to memory and attention compared to non-smokers.
There exists a serious problem for the ‘Juul syndrome’. Adolescents tend to be very sensitive to social media, and the fact that Juul has a strong presence on social media such as Instagram highly contributes to underage vaping. In addition, e-cigarettes are highly accessible to adolescents, which makes them much more exposed to nicotine than they already are. Therefore, an intervention of the government or a stronger authority is necessary. A good news is that the FDA recently stepped in to make an effort in reducing underage vaping. It is sending warning letters to retailers that were caught selling the products to underage customers during an undercover enforcement blitz that took place over the summer.
The original article, The Juul is Too Cool from New York Times and the quoted article FDA Cracks Down on Underage Use of E-Cigarettes from Smithsonian,, are both reliable sources. Appropriate evidence is cited, and the articles are convincing and engaging to the readers.