The Nic Fix

Grace Hengelsberg

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What is the first demographic that you think of when you hear the word ‘juul’? Most likely, you’re thinking of high schoolers, maybe even yourself. The fact is, teen nicotine use is an epidemic that everyone should be talking about.

Often, kids start using nicotine socially or ‘for fun’ when in reality, it can lead to a serious addiction. According to drugfree.org in 2018, about 20% of high school students use nicotine; that statistic has only risen in the last year. A lot of this comes from the relatively new product, the juul, which debuted in 2015. Since then, there have been many clones such as the suorin, njoy, and smok. All of these vaping devices contain high levels of nicotine.

After polling the majority of sixth period lunch, it was found that everyone knows someone under the age of 18 who vapes.

The problem is not that kids don’t know about nicotine addiction. The problem is that they underestimate the power of it. According to Yale scientist Marina Picciotto, “Adolescents don’t think they will get addicted to nicotine, but when they do want to stop, they find it’s very difficult.” In fact, many professionals go on to say that all it takes is the first hit to begin the spiral into addiction.

On top of all of this, vaping puts kids in hospitals and can, in rare cases, causes death. In Wisconsin alone, eight teenagers found themselves in hospitals; their symptoms included chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, and fatigue. Doctors say that they are unsure of the exact cause of the teens’ illness, but all signs point to vaping.

In addition to this, there have been five reported deaths and a total of approximately 450 cases nationwide. If these numbers don’t scare you, nothing will. Teenage nicotine addiction kills.

All in all, teen nicotine addiction is a huge problem and needs to be on everyone’s minds.