North Atlanta Contends With Juuls In Schools


Danielle Milburn

JUUL Craze: With e-cigarettes replacing other forms of smoking, Juuling has become an increasingly popular trend in schools.

If you are one of the few students who read the student handbook, you may have read something along the lines of “we are a tobacco/nicotine free school.”  This likely well-known policy has not stopped some students here at North Atlanta from indulging in the nicotine trend. For many students, using their Juuls — a popular brand of e-cigarettes — is part of their everyday routine.

Juuls and similar e-cigarette brands contain nicotine, which is known for being dangerously addictive and harmful to one’s health. Many addicts have been known to develop lung cancer and need tracheostomies, or surgery that opens a hole in their throat to allow them to speak. Nonetheless, many students don’t buy into the commonly held idea that Juuls will have the same effects. Those who choose to Juul are under the impression — correct or otherwise — that their habit is a safe alternative.

Those interviewed for this story asked to remain anonymous. Their statements about the habit are telling. “I don’t really care about the effects and no one has died from it yet so it really can’t be that bad,” said one student.  

There has been extensive research on e-cigarettes and public health experts say these seemingly “safe smokes” are far from that. But many in the Juuling crowd at North Atlanta say their habit is worth the risk, unaware of its highly addictive properties. While many students know the negative effects of nicotine and tobacco, they are unapologetic about their habit and cite its positive effects. “It definitely helps me when I’m stressed so that’s why I use it in school,” said another student.   

Others students said their Juuling habits are not based in addiction but rather are rooted in social circumstances. Some in this category call themselves “social Juulers.”

“Juuling definitely makes me feel a little bit cooler I have to admit,” said another student who likes to get his nicotine fix around peers.

Many students even bring Juuls into school and use them throughout the day. A majority of the students said that they use their Juul every day and usually can’t go more than a few hours without “hitting it,” whether it be in groups in the bathroom stalls or walking through the hallways between classes.

Because of how common it is with teens, one may ask if their parents know and if they do know, do they care? Students have a variety of answers to this question, from “my therapist told my mom,” to “they only know when I do it in front of them,” to “my dad hits mine and likes it.”

The reasons for Juuling can range from social pressure to simply boredom. Whether it helps them academically or not, these students will not listen to those telling them to put down their Juuls. Much to the concern of parents, teachers, administrators and health-minded students, the Juul phenomenon has seemingly caught on here at North Atlanta and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.