Is it cool to ‘JUUL’ in school?


photo by Hannah Reichert

JUUL in school. A confiscated JUUL, easy to mistake for a flash drive, has become an unhealthy national trend with teens. Meridian High School has confiscated multiple JUULs this school year. “I think that you could be fooled with what it looks like, it would be very easy to mistake them if you didn’t know what they actually look like,” said Principal Hurelbrink.

by Hannah Reichert, Editor-in-Chief

There have been at least five students at Meridian High School caught ‘JUULing’ on school property since August 16, 2018. The school has had more issues with ‘JUULing’ in the first four weeks of school than they did in the entire previous year.

“In our handbook it’s listed under the same category as if you were caught using tobacco or smoking on campus. I’ve tried to stay pretty consistent, it’s usually one day out and one day in, or two days out and one day in,” said Principal Hurelbrink. “But we also have a policy in our handbook for the students that do something that would be considered illegal here on campus and so that (JUULing) would fall under that part of the category and that would be a forty-five day suspension from any student activity.”

A JUUL looks like a USB flash drive and is small enough to hide in one hand. It’s pods come in a variety of youth-appealing flavors, for example, mango and crème brûlée. The amount of nicotine in one JUUL pod is almost equal to a pack of cigarettes.

“It is easy to hide from parents, allowing the problem to go unnoticed,” said Savannah Mendenhall, a junior at Meridian High School. “Sometimes relatives and older friends supply the ‘JUULs’ and pods. There should be stricter consequences for the suppliers and minors.”

The American Cancer Society states that some kids become physically dependent on nicotine and that it can harm a young person’s brain development.

“It’s illegal for them to have, it should be just like any other drug or illegal substance in my mind,” said Denna Williams, a teacher at Meridian High School. “First of all, I don’t think people even know what kind of effects it can have on your body long-term. If smoking is bad then this is probably way worse because it is chemicals.”

One of the more serious health concerns from ‘JUULing’ is “wet lung.” According to the American Lung Association, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or more commonly known as “wet lung” is a rapidly progressive disease, the main complication is that fluid leaks into the lung making it difficult or impossible to breathe.

“It scares me. I hope that they stop, it’s a serious health concern. They may feel invincible at a young age, but you have to use those same lungs or whatever for the rest of their life,” said Williams.