Admission: I lit my first cigarette in 7th grade, thrilling to the grown-up feel of it all, as it fed my rebellious side. In other words, I’m in no position to judge kids who light up nowadays, though I pray they never do. What I don’t get at all, however, is the appeal of puffing on what looks like a USB device that has quickly proven to be not just health-risky but deadly, too.

Meanwhile, despite all the negative press of late, many kids discount the risks. Indeed, this year, more than 25% of 12th graders and more than 20% of 10th graders report vaping.

Leading the pack, Juuls Labs boasts 50% of all e-cigarette sales.

And just so you know: Vaping products come with a battery, heating element, and space for a typically flavored e-liquid or “vape juice.” Users inhale the heated vapor or aerosol.

Moreover, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD) can be added, their strength tripled by the vaping process and potentially leading to psychiatric and/or mental processing problems.

As for nicotine levels, they can start as low as 0%, or, as in the case of Juuls, boast levels similar to tobacco cigarettes.

Plus, because the devices are so small and easily concealed, they’re hard to detect. A few signs to look for though, include:

  • Frequent stepping away from the family and heading to another part of the house or outdoors.
  • Undue irritability
  • Excessive coughing, shortness of breath, and unwillingness to exercise

There’s also what’s known as “nicotine toxicity,” caused by the constant puffing. Signs include nausea, vomiting, and fluctuating blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there. According to the CDC, as of October 11:

  1. Vaping-linked lung injury cases stood at 1,299, along with 26 deaths.
  2. Such cases span 49 states, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  3. Among the lung injury cases, 76% occurred in those who’d used THC-containing products, with or without nicotine products.
  4. The median age of those who died was 49% but range from 17 to 75; 21% were between the ages of 18 and 20.

Says Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, “The lung injury cases are very serious, life-threatening, even fatal. We do not know yet what is making people sick, and whether the illnesses are related to products, or potentially the delivery of those products.”

In the meantime, the FDA has taken steps to ban flavored vaping products until approved by the agency. Those that are tobacco-flavored can stay on store shelves but must gain FDA approval by May, 2020.

And this just in: Juul Labs, Inc. CEO, Kevin Burns has now stepped down, apologizing for the teen vaping epidemic.

Nevertheless, the company continues to hire.

Know, too, that two Kansas school districts have sued Juuls and other e-cigarette companies claiming that vaping harms students and disrupts schooling, so stay tuned…

With thanks, Carol