BELLEVUE, Wash. - One local high school student says e-cigarettes, specifically JUULs, are so prevalent in his school it's almost impossible for teenagers to stay away from them.
Growing up, Aidan Adams says his family taught him to stay away from any sort of drugs.
And that is what he intended to do, but unfortunately, Adams says his own plans changed.
“I’ve always seen smoking as something that is dumb,” said Adams. “I was a little bit ashamed of the fact that I made fun of it and now I’m doing it because you know this is not good,” he added.
Curiosity is what Adams said led him to smoking, and he says JUULS were already everywhere in school.
“I felt really weird, but I was like this is cool; I’m doing drugs, you know. I’m a cool kid now,” he said.
At first, Adams says he barely did it. However, in a few months, he says he became addicted to smoking.
“Like drinking water, you know, it became the same kind of feeling like, ‘oh, I’m thirsty,’ or, ‘oh, I need to hit my JUUL,” he said.
The nicotine in these e-cigs can lead to addiction very quickly.
“It really is a substance that once you start using it, it’s going to lead to that compulsion,” said Dr. Gregory Rudolf.
Rudolf is an addiction specialist with Swedish Pain Services.
He says for any teenager who is realizing they have an issue they do not have to fight addiction alone.
“As a first choice, go to a medical provider. It’s nice to have someone partnering with you. It can be kept confidential for a teenager that goes in with that type of issue,” he said.
For Adams, he says the bottom dropped out when his parents found out. He says he wishes it didn’t come to this.
“I wish I had known I could have come to my parents about that stuff,” he said.
Adams says his parents talked to him about drugs and alcohol, but the conversations were not consistent
He says if he had the confidence at the time, he would have just told his parents that he was curious about drug use in the first place.
“If there was no fear of being punished, I would have come to my parents with everything. But it’s scary,” he said.
Adams says kids are dealing with so much and if they know their parents are there to support them, they might be more willing to open up about their problems.
“Making sure they know it's ok to mess up. Because I think a lot of kids don’t know that,” he said.
Rudolf says there is medication that can help deal with nicotine addiction.
If you are addicted to nicotine but do not feel comfortable opening up about it, you can call 1800 QUIT NOW.