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Mill Stream Staff

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When eating a bag of chips, everybody knows you can’t just eat one. You can tell yourself you’ll only eat a few so you don’t get too full before dinner and next thing you know, the entire bag is empty. After you start, it’s hard to stop because the chips taste so good. The way your brain reacts to eating a whole bag of chips is very similar to an addiction. Addictions are a complicated and difficult concept to grasp, especially as a teenager in high school. The Juuling trend, the most popular addiction among teenagers, started around a year ago. Juuls were created in order to help people who were addicted to cigarettes slowly stop smoking, but instead they are being used by teenagers who want to feel a “buzz” from the nicotine. Some will argue that juuling is not as bad for your health compared to cigarettes, yet, one Juul pod is equivalent to 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. Although some adults are now Juuling instead of smoking, companies who are producing Juuls are now directly targeting minors. This has led to teenagers becoming addicted to the nicotine in Juul pods, which leads to using other drugs and becoming addicted to other things such as cigarettes and alcohol.

What was meant to be started as a doorway out of smoking has now become the most popular doorway in.

When we were younger, it was a common belief that our generation, Gen Z, would be the one to put an end to vaping and smoking completely. Instead, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently called the vaping problem an “epidemic,” and it could make the opioid crisis look insignificant. As middle schoolers, some of us would laugh and make fun of people who smoked or vaped and post it on vine or social media, wondering why one would do that in the first place. Now, we’re doing the same exact thing, only at a higher rate with a different product.

Juuling is commonly seen as a joke, but it’s becoming more and more of a serious problem and addiction. The reason many people start is because of peer pressure. An upperclassman or close friend asks you if you want to take just one hit. Wanting to fit in and not be judged, that person takes the hit and eventually can become addicted. It’s that easy. The Juul is still relatively new to the market, as it has only been out to the public for three years, so doctors and researchers aren’t yet sure what the long-term effects of it will be, but they do know the long-term effects of nicotine inhalation. According to Jonathan Philip Winickoff, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a specialist in family health and smoking cessation at Massachusetts General Hospital, some of those side effects include: asthma attacks, increased chance of heart disease, and inflamed lungs due to an allergic reaction to dust or chemicals in the nicotine. Doctors and researchers have also found nicotine able to increase one’s adrenaline levels in the heart, which can lead to heart attacks, which can be found in a story published in the journal JAMA Cardiology.

Some do not mind being addicted and want to continue for the buzz and feeling. But for those who are trying to stop, yet find it seemingly impossible, this is for you.

The first step is to realize that you are addicted and want to entirely stop. If you are not 100 percent dedicated to quitting your addiction, you will always find another reason not to quit, and start tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day, and so on. There are multiple organizations out there whose main goal is to help people nationwide. One such organization is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA allows one to find treatment facilities near them that offer advice and help with many different kinds of addictions. If you are serious about stopping an addiction you have, we recommend visiting their website: https://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov. It’s never too late to stop.

The most important thing to remember is to always seek help. Whether is it from a friend or an organization, any kind of help is a good start. The guidance and assistance of a friend is something that can always make a difference when trying to quit an addiction. Addiction is a disease, not a choice. You just have to care enough to try and stop entirely.

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