310 FIFTH STREET, COLUSA, CA 95932    •    (530) 458-4141

Home Opinions THINKING ABOUT HEALTH: New form of e-cigs lures teens despite no...

THINKING ABOUT HEALTH: New form of e-cigs lures teens despite no proof it’s safe


Gordon Hopkins | Rural Health News Service

The electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, has been touted – without proof – as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products and perhaps even a method of breaking the tobacco habit altogether. Now a new, related product with the brand name JUUL has entered the market and is especially appealing to teens.

An e-cigarette, which looks much like a traditional cigarette, heats a liquid to create an aerosol, called “vapor,” that can be inhaled. 

It is true that many of the toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke are not present in the “vapor.” However, most e-cigarettes still contain nicotine in addition to some chemicals not necessarily found in tobacco. 

A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study published in Environmental Health Perspectives says some chemicals in e-cigarettes are linked to a severe respiratory disorder and that nicotine is still addictive even if it’s delivered in a vapor. 

Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved electronic cigarettes as a safe or effective method to quit smoking. 

The bottom line is, no study has yet identified the long-term effects of “vaping,” and the belief that it is somehow safer than regular cigarettes may lead users to indulge more than they might otherwise.

That includes young people. Keeping cigarettes out of the hands of those below the legal age has always been a problem, and e-cigarettes are no different. However, with the introduction of JUUL, the problem has become significantly more difficult. 

Most e-cigarettes don’t look like anything but an e-cigarette. A JUUL device, on the other hand, looks like an ordinary flash drive, or USB drive, the exact sort of devices students now carry around with schoolwork stored on them. In fact, a JUUL is rechargeable and comes with a USB charger that you can plug into your laptop or charging station.

A single JUUL cartridge or pod – the part of the JUUL that contains the nicotine liquid – has about the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes: roughly about 200 puffs.

JUUL is actually a brand name, but “JUULing” quickly entered the teen lexicon. Teens like JUUL because is easier to hide than a pack of cigarettes and produces considerably less telltale smell than tobacco smoke. Additionally, JUUL comes in various non-tobacco flavors such as cool mint, cherry, mango and crème brule. All this, plus the widespread belief that e-cigarettes are “safe,” makes JUUL extremely appealing to teens.

JUUL, the company, insists that its product is not marketed to teens, responding to one Tweet from a concerned user on March 28: “We don’t want minors using our product, either. Our mission is eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative.”

To date, the government regulates all forms of e-cigarettes far less than it does traditional tobacco products. The best thing parents and school administrators can do to protect young people is to educate them and keep an eye on their habits and behavior.

Gordon Hopkins is an award-winning columnist and feature writer for The Fairbury Journal-News. Prior to that, he worked for several years in the health insurance industry. His latest book is “Nebraska at War: Dispatches from the Home Front and the Front Lines.” You can contact him at gordon.fjn@gmail.com.■

The Williams Pioneer Review has a small staff of one, covering all of Colusa County; but we’re proud to have the assistance of a large army of community contributors to extend our range and reach. This is one of those stories. If you have a story you would like to share, please email them to: news@colusacountynews.com or give us a call.

Recent News

Colusa County Free Library Opens for Curbside Services

On Wednesday, May 20, the Colusa County Free Library began offering curbside pickup of library materials placed on hold via the library’s online portal....

Local Government

Williams hit hard by economic downturn

COVID-19 is expected to take a tremendous economic toll in Williams, whose revenue from Interstate-5 commerce is the highest in Colusa County. Finance Director Rex...

Bridge Street work on schedule

Work continues along a mile-long stretch of Bridge Street that is part of a $19.5 million Caltrans roadway rehabilitation project. The project that got underway...

Public & Legal Notices

County of Colusa – Groundwater Commission Notice of Public Hearing

  COUNTY OF COLUSA GROUNDWATER COMMISSION NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING   NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT the Colusa County Groundwater Commission will hold a Public Hearing for the purpose...

Notice of Vacancy – Princeton Water Works District

NOTICE OF VACANCY NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT the Colusa County Board of Supervisors is soliciting applications to fill a vacancy for an unexpired term...

County of Colusa – Notice of Adoption of a Resolution of Intent to Temporarily Sell and Transfer Central Valley Water Project Rights for the...


FBN – Superior Tire Service

FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO. 2020-0000039 Date filed: APRIL 30, 2020 The following persons are doing business as:   SUPERIOR TIRE SERVICE BUSINESS ADDRESS: 247 BRIDGE STREET, COLUSA, CA...

Colusa County Board of Supervisors – Notice of Public Hearing

  COLUSA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT the Colusa County Board of Supervisors will conduct a Public Hearing on...