According to recent surveys, roughly 10 percent of students in American middle and high schools are regularly vaping. This amounts to over 2 million teens and young adults who are putting themselves at risk. Parents must be aware of the risks of vaping and look for signs in their children.
Juul e-cigarettes are hidden in plain sight
Juul and other e-cigarettes appeal to kids because they come in kid-friendly flavors and packaging, are easily concealable, and look high-tech. Unfortunately, these same traits make it easy for parents to overlook the products and their dangers.
Teens are secretly “Juuling” in plain sight at both home and school. E-cigarette devices are small, look like USB drives, and do not produce smoke. Students are taking puffs in the bathrooms, hallways, and even in classrooms when teachers have their backs turned.
Signs of Juul use by kids
With the easy-to-conceal nature of e-cigs, parents, and other adults who spend time with middle school and high school students need to recognize the signs that a child may be vaping.
- Dehydration. Chemicals in electronic nicotine products cause water retention in the user’s body. Be on the lookout for signs of increased thirst or nosebleeds, which can both be caused by dehydration. Dry mouth can also lead a vaper to seek stronger flavors, so pay attention if your teen is suddenly attracted to more flavorful foods.
- Aversion to caffeine. The combination of vaping and caffeine leads to emotional disturbance like anxiety and mood swings, so users typically cut back on caffeine.
- Respiratory problems. E-cigarettes were first marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes because they do not contain tar. However, they contain nicotine and chemicals that may cause lung irritation. When the inflammation leads to an infection, users can develop pneumonia.
- Carrying USB drives. E-cigarettes look like portable USB drives and can be charged on a computer. Because they look so similar, some schools have banned USB drives.
- Acne. The chemicals in liquid flavor pods can lead to severe skin breakouts.
What to do if your child is vaping
If you notice any of the warning signs of Juul use, it is time to investigate further. Vaping can cause addiction as well as long-term health problems for kids who engage. But there can be immediate consequences as well. Parents, school administrators, doctors, and addiction treatment professionals have observed problems such as:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can impair physical performance
- Attention deficits after ongoing use
- “Popcorn lung,” also known as bronchiolitis obliterans, which is an irreversible lung disease that damages the airways and is recognized by a dry cough and shortness of breath
- Seizures, which have not yet been formally linked by the FDA to vaping but have been documented by medical professionals in hundreds of cases
- Risk of nicotine poisoning in siblings or other children age 6 or younger who access the pods
Teen brains are still developing and show heightened sensitivity to nicotine, which is present in all Juul pods. In other words, when e-cig manufacturers can get kids to try their kid-friendly pod flavors like watermelon and cucumber, they can reap the economic benefits of a new addict for years.
If your teen or tween is suffering from e-cig addiction, it is time to seek help from a medical professional. Keep a journal of symptoms so you can accurately report them to your child’s doctor. Keep a file of all treatment notes and medical bills, as well as any other documentation of the experience.
Recourse for teens suffering from Juul addiction
E-cigarette use among students has spread at an unprecedented rate, far outpacing the use of traditional cigarettes. Production of kid-friendly vapor flavors like cotton candy and strawberry, hip e-cig device patterns, and youth-oriented promotion on social media are all evidence that Juul and other manufacturers improperly target a youth market. Therefore, personal injury lawyers are talking to parents of teen vapers across the country about filing product liability lawsuits.
Makers of dangerous drugs and products can be held liable when their products are inherently dangerous or because they fail to warn the public about their risks. This includes the risks of highly concentrated nicotine products marketed as relatively safe and targeting an underage market.
If Juul use has led your child to become addicted to nicotine or to suffer from its associated health risks, you may be eligible to seek damages including:
- Past and future medical expenses, including those related to treating addiction
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Punitive damages in some cases
Filing a Juul e-cigarette lawsuit
The attorneys at Douglas & London take the dangers of Juuling seriously and are currently reviewing cases involving related injuries. If you believe the consequences you or your teen have suffered are related to these products, contact us today to discuss whether now is the time for you to file a Juul lawsuit. Consultations are always free and confidential.
- U.S. News, How to Tell if Your Kid Is Vaping, https://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/2018-07-27/how-to-tell-if-your-kid-is-vaping
- Child Mind Institute, Teen Vaping: What You Need to Know, https://childmind.org/article/teen-vaping-what-you-need-to-know/
- Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 10 Things School Principals Need to Know About JUUL, http://www.kdheks.gov/tobacco/download/juul_fact_sheet.pdf
- The Washington Post, In the ‘Juul room’: E-cigarettes spawn a form of teen addiction that worries doctors, parents and schools, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/helpless-to-the-draw-of-nicotine-doctors-parents-and-schools-grapple-with-teens-addicted-to-e-cigarettes/2019/07/25/e1e8ac9c-830a-11e9-933d-7501070ee669_story.html