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Vaping, Juuling and teens – what parents should know

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available flavors of Juul pods

“Vaping” is inhaling heated vapor via a small device, and it’s popular among teens who don’t think it’s dangerous because it’s “not actually smoking”. There is a new device called a Juul that has twice the nicotine content of other vaping devices, and it’s been surging in popularity. So much so that it even has it’s own verb: “Juuling”.

Juuls come in pods with flavors like Mango, Crème Brulee and Fruit Medley. A far cry from menthol or clove cigarettes of the 70’s and 80’s, these flavors are highly appealing to teens because they taste and smell so good.

Juuling is happening at school, in bathroom stalls, and even in the classroom thanks to Juuling devices that are disguised as “Sharpie” permanent markers. It’s very easy to hide, and even to use without being noticed.

OK so what’s bad about Juuling?
A developing teen’s brain is highly susceptible to addiction. Giving a teen twice the amount of nicotine as a cigarette will get them hooked on nicotine, which could have a long-term negative impact on their brain, which is not fully developed until a person is about 25 years old. According to an article recently published in Business Insider magazine, “Brain imaging studies of adolescents suggest that those who begin smoking regularly at a young age have markedly reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex and perform less well on tasks related to memory and attention compared to people who don’t smoke.” Studies also show that teens that Juul are far more likely to start smoking.

Juuling also has a negative effect on your oral health.

• Causes gum recession – nicotine reduces the amount of oxygen that flows through your veins, so your gums don’t get what they need to stay healthy.
• Bad breath – nicotine also causes dry mouth, which leads to more bacteria in your mouth and bad breath.
• Intensifies teeth grinding – nicotine is a stimulant. If you grind your teeth, nicotine could make you grind them more.

So what can parents do?

• Talk to your child about Juuling and Vaping. Ask if they know anyone who does this. Ask if they have ever seen a device? Have they ever been asked to try it? Have they talked about it in school?
• Explain the risks. Hopefully the information in this blog is helpful.
• We’re here to help. Ask your dentist or hygienist to check for gum issues at your teen’s next visit.