Here are the observations of an old guy who just doesn’t understand kids today…and moreover their parents. Smoking has long been a problem for kids as peer pressure is more dominant than ever. But remember, one of the greatest powers we all have is the word, “no”. The trouble is, it’s seldom used when it has to be.
I bring this up because of what I saw over the weekend while staying at a hotel in Wausau during the Central Wisconsin Sports Show. I typically stay on the first floor because it’s quieter but with the weather jamming up sports contests there were a plethora of students and I ended up on the fourth floor. I’m an early riser, whether I want to or not, and weekends are no different. I was headed to the elevator to grab some coffee at about 5:30 when I noticed a bunch of boxes on the floor by the soda machine. There were empty JUUL packages, maybe 15 of them. Upon further inspection, there were about 40 more jammed into the chute of the soda machine!! Those 15 or so simply fell out. Some kids had quite the vaping party because that’s about 6000 hits on those electronic gizmos.
While being billed as an alternative to smoking, these things actually contain MORE NICOTINE than a cigarette! Add the water vapor and it’s like mainlining the stuff. The New York Times basically accused the company of making the devices attractive to teens. So much so, the FDA is looking into whether PAX Labs, the manufacturer, intentionally marketed the devices to youth!
Schools are now dealing with a nicotine crisis even bigger than before because kids believe the devices are “safer” than cigarettes.
Two things immediately came to mind when I saw this pile. First, these are student athletes and there were hundreds of them at the hotel from all over the state. They should know the consequences of being caught, but my big question is, where were the parents? The coaches? Most of these youngsters were girls because it’s tournament time and my heart hurt.
The hotel staff was notified. The boxes were all picked up and discarded. The soda machine checked to make sure it still worked. But that’s as far as this will go. I wasn’t a saint in school but I learned early to use the word no. It can be tough but it does work. In time it will bring respect.