“Hey man, can I hit your JUUL?” is a phrase I have heard one too many times over the last 12 months. Clouds of smoke fill the hallways of my apartment building, the shopping mall, the park and even in my 10 a.m. class on Monday. From 13-year-old kids to college students around the country, the JUUL has taken over as this generation’s new favorite activity … and it’s not good for them.
For those unfamiliar with this device, a JUUL is an easy to use e-cigarette. You simply insert a “pod” and begin to smoke. What people are choosing to ignore is the harmful ingredients. According to Juulvapor.com and clearly described under the product itself:
“Each pack contains 4 pods. Each JUULpod contains 0.7mL with 5 percent nicotine by weight, approximately equivalent to one pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs.”
With this knowledge so clearly accessible, I remained curious as to why people continued to smoke JUUL. Was it to look cool? Was it for the nicotine buzz?
I heard popular answers like, “I’m not addicted I can stop whenever I want” and “They are just for fun,” as I asked the students in my building.
Many people are under the impression that e-cigarettes are safe because they don’t have tobacco. Even though the JUUL is tobacco-free, studies by the Food and Drug Administration show that they contain toxic chemicals and carcinogens including a toxic compound found in antifreeze and formaldehyde.
Because the Juul craze and e-cigarettes are a fairly new concept, there are no long term studies to prove that they are less harmful than the conventional cigarette. What we do know, is that nicotine is not good for kids and young adults. JUUL Labs released a statement saying, “Minors should not use any nicotine product, including ours. JUUL was created for adult smokers of legal age only and we strive to keep our product out of the hands of minors. Recent science raises concerns about the adverse effects of nicotine on adolescent neurodevelopment.”
Unfortunately, the JUUL seems to be targeted at teenagers, contrary to their claims. Through advertising campaigns and the candy-like flavors they sell, the percentage of teenagers who have tried e-cigarettes has quadrupled from 5%-19%. Popular instagrams like JUUL Nation and funny memes have glorified JUULing making it seem like cool and relatable.
Whether it is used as a social activity or for recreational use, the JUUL craze is here and doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. So before you choose to “hit the JUUL”, hit the books and learn the facts.