Severe Juuling Addiction Lands A North Carolina Teen In Rehab

When he began selling his clothes to afford juul pods, Luka Kinard knew he had a problem.

The front of a shelf containing Juul pods.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

When he began selling his clothes to afford juul pods, Luka Kinard knew he had a problem.

E-cigarette usage in teens has recently skyrocketed causing the Food and Drug Administration to deem it an epidemic. Products like the Juul are getting teens unnecessarily hooked on nicotine with their diverse flavors and sleek design. The habit is not only costly, but researchers fear it will lead to other forms of substance use. Luka Kinard, a 15-year-old from North Carolina, is just one of many kids to become hooked on the Juul, according to NBC News.

Like many of his friends, Luka picked up the habit of juuling and soon became addicted. He begun spending $150 week to sustain the addiction. It led him to go to great lengths to make enough money for the nicotine fix.

“I was selling my clothes,” Luka said. “I would get shoes, sell them, go out get cheap shoes, sell them. I was doing anything and everything to get money.”

Before long, his parents noticed a change in his behavior and a drastic change in his academic performance.

“He went from being a straight-A student to an F student,” Luka’s mother, Kelly Kinard, said. “(It was) a very rapid decline in grades. His behavior became explosive. He was very angry and it just wasn’t him.” The teen quit all of his old hobbies, from fishing to boy scouts, and spent all his free time in his room vaping.

Luka craved the buzz that is much stronger than a normal cigarette and though he was going broke, he just couldn’t kick the habit on his own. The addiction caused him to have a seizure and he ended up in the emergency room. The medical scare was a turning point in his life. His parents reached out to a multitude of health professionals from neurologists to cardiologists about the issue, but came to the conclusion they already knew, the seizure was brought on by Luka’s excessive vaping.

“I found on the internet that it should be treated like a substance abuse issue. That helped when I called the insurance company and told them we need a referral for a substance abuse treatment,” his mother said. The teen was sent to an addiction rehabilitation program where it took 40 days for him to get over his addiction to nicotine. His parents said they saw an immediate change in their sons behavior since he stopped leaning on juuling. He was able to hold a conversation and returned to a healthy lifestyle.