You may have noticed the increasing trend of vape pens and e-cigarettes coming on the market. With increased marketing and availability, often comes increased use, especially among adolescents. Many of you may be thinking, “But, aren’t vape pens just water? Should we be worried about our youth using these instead of tobacco? Isn’t it better for them to vape than smoke tobacco?”.


Let’s talk about what’s really in most e-cigarettes and vape pens. E-cigarettes are made of a battery, an atomizer with a heating coil, and an absorbent material that absorbs a liquid that can contain nicotine, flavoring and chemicals. The battery allows the atomizer to heat the liquid, called e-juice, which creates an aerosol that is breathed into the lungs and breathed out into the air repeatedly. Some of these devices are pre-loaded with the e-juice and others where the users add it themselves. E-juice often contains flavors and nicotine, and there are over 7,000 flavors of e-juice currently on the market.


So what does all of this mean? E-cigarettes and vape pens create an aerosol, not a vapor. These pens allow the user to make clouds that many think are just water vapor. In reality, the ‘cloud’ is a mixture of many different chemicals.


One brand in particular has become very popular among adolescents and young adults – JUUL. JUULpods are one such vape pen. JUULs look like a USB drive and can actually be charged through a USB port. Each JUULpod cartridge provides 200 puffs and contain a variety of e-juice flavors, all with an alarming amount of nicotine. Each JUULpod is packed with 59 milligrams per milliliter of nicotine, which is equal to the amount of nicotine found in a pack of cigarettes.


Bottom line: Every JUULpod contains nicotine. Nicotine itself is of course a highly addictive compound, and while not all e-cigarettes/vape pens contain nicotine, all of them contain chemicals and toxins that can be harmful to both adults and growing adolescents. To learn more, go to https://med.stanford.edu/tobaccopreventiontoolkit/E-Cigs.html.


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