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The crackdown on Juuls is affecting minors

Lily Tiong, Writer

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Hide and Seek: A game kids used to play with each other, but are now playing with their vapes (e-cigarettes). Being so easily accessible, the FDA is cracking down on the usage of vapes by minors.

“The number of vapes we confiscate per week depends on the month and the growing usage patterns,” Assistant Principal Laura Lemke said. “Going from one or two last year total, to this year, the increase has been excessive. That tells me that the access to vapes by underage kids has increased.”

According to The Washington Post, two-thirds of teens who vape only use flavored juice containing no nicotine. Juices can come in flavors such as cotton candy, berry, bubble gum, and many more.

“When e-cigarettes first came out, they were advertised as a way to step down from smoking,” Lemke said. “They were also advertised as being not as bad as smoking. Depending on what types of juices put into it, it can be as bad as smoking or even worse.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, compared to non users of e-cigarettes, 30.7 percent of people started smoking within six months of using an e-cigarette. Certain types of cancer are being linked to some of the juices put in the devices, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Parents are used to the big clunky things or the ones that look like a giant marker,” Lemke said. “They’re not up to date on what some of the newer devices look like.”

Vapes such as Juuls and Suorin Airs can be hidden in plain sight, imitating household objects such as flash drives, pencil lead containers, or flashlights. Minors caught in the act of vaping are handled within school grounds, and not typically taken to a higher authority such as the police department.

“Most instances are occurring on school property, where the administration is taking action by referencing the situation through discipline and confiscation of the contraband device,” Fenton Police Chief Jason Slater said. “If a minor is caught in possession of tobacco, then they would be issued a Misdemeanor citation (750.473, 722.642) and potentially face a fine of $50.00 along with other mandates ordered by the court.”

As of 2016, the FDA considers any vaping device to be a tobacco product. The state law defines “Tobacco product” as a preparation of tobacco to be inhaled, chewed, or placed in a person’s mouth.

“I am currently working on drafting a city ordinance, prohibiting the sales of e-cigarettes or vaping devices to a minor,” Slater said. “As well as prohibiting a minor from possessing, purchasing or attempting to purchase an e-cigarette or vaping type device.”

Vaping is seen by some as an alternative to smoking, but in reality, it could be causing more harm than visibly seen by the human eye, especially in young adolescents such as teenagers.

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