By: Neil Mufson
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the annual meeting of Heads of School for The Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools (AIMS), where there was much sidebar talk of how vaping is working its way into middle schools, particularly through JUULing. Vaping was originally designed as a method of helping smokers quit the cigarette habit through inhaling water vapor that contains flavored nicotine rather than tobacco smoke with all its other carcinogenic ingredients. The idea was that through vaping, smokers would progressively wean themselves from their nicotine addiction.
What is happening, though, is that vaping, which is supposed to be restricted in availability to those over 21, has become quite popular among adolescents, including middle schoolers. The irony is that while vaping was designed to help cure an addiction, it can easily become an addiction in its own right. The health risks of vaping to young people are not yet fully known, though there are numerous signs of deleterious effects. Follow this link to read about the health risks of vaping.  
JUULing is the use of small, specially designed e-cigarettes that charge in a USB port and that look like a fairly normal flash drive. Hence the use of JUULs is very easy to conceal. Their easy, unsuspicious connection to devices like laptops make them particularly attractive to teens since many adults are clueless about what they are. This link provides parents with a good primer on JUULing. 
While vaping and JUULing have not made an appearance within The Country School, with summer coming up, it is a good idea for parents to speak to their older middle schoolers about this. Our policy for vaping is the same as it is for smoking, and even though it’s been many years since we have had a known incident of any child trying to smoke on our campus, adult non-vapers need to stay informed about this recent kid trend.

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