The Dangerous Phenomenon Known As “Juuling”

After asking ten student’s at my own high school about their experience with “juuling,” all but one shared previous experiences of “juuling”, while six of the ten admitted to owning one of their own.

For those unfamiliar with this up and coming sensation, the Juul is one of the many alternatives to e-cigarettes. Shaped and often confused for a USB flash drive, Buzzfeed News identifies this device as “a portable “nicotine-delivery device” designed to mimic the physical and sensory experience of a cigarette, without looking like one.”

But the fun does not stop there. The actual Juul is broken into two parts: the bottom part is the device, which includes the battery and temperature regulation system, and the top part is the e-liquid cartridge that you stick into the device. In order to operate a Juul, a “pod” containing glycerol, propylene glycol, natural oils, extracts and flavor, nicotine and benzoic acid is inserted into the black device and eventually vaporized and smoked. What attracts so many, aside from the variety of “tricks” adolescents enjoy creating with the vapor including the formation of “O’s”, is the “head rush” users feel for approximately a minute after inhaling a puff from the Juul.  Moreover, rather than inhaling the taste of a cigarette, the Juul has created a wide variety of flavors in which users can choose from. With five classic flavors including virginia tobacco, cool mint, fruit medley, creme brulee & mango, the official Juul website also assures consumers that limited time flavors are available, one of the most famous being, cucumber.

To some, this may sound like a lot of fun. Other’s might be wondering what the point is or how this has affected modern society.

The Juul website poses the Juul as an alternative to cigarettes. They do continuously note that its use is not directed towards adolescents nor non-cigarette smokers. Rather, it is simply another form of smoking for those who already do: one that is trendier, does not contain tobacco, and that does “cool things.” If this were successfully occurring, it would be one thing. Sadly, this is not the reality as more and more adolescents are engaging in these activities ultimately setting themselves up for a life of addiction. The biggest problem is the naivete of users. Many do not know what they are putting into their body, nor its long-term effects. Even doctors are struggling with this as they do not have enough information to offer based on its newness.

The fact that smoking a single Juul pod is equivalent to smoking an entire pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs, for some reason is a fact provided by the official Juul company, that slides by almost all of its users. Adolescents have taken a great interest to this over the last year for a variety of reasons. This includes the unfamiliarity of this product to most everyone who is not an adolescent making the use of this discreet and possible in indoor areas, around parents and even school.  Additionally, its sleek look and abilities have made “juuling” a social activity and one that can easily be mistaken for a USB drive. Finally, adolescents have created a false notion in which they believe that the absence of tobacco makes “juuling” not harmful and okay. However, the use of nicotine, one of the most addictive drugs, may ultimately be just as harmful. Although that data cannot be understood yet, medical professionals are very nervous about the long-term effect “Juulers” might face later in life. One survey found e-cigarette smokers to be seven times more likely to make the jump to real cigarettes. Many others show the same results.

I asked the same ten student’s if they would consider smoking a cigarette. All of them said no. Little do they know, they are on their way there and evidently, student’s are much more informed about the fatal effects of cigarettes.

Any new form of technology serves as a question to many, and in the case of the Juul, in reality, only time will tell what its real effects are. Yet, with its already prevalent effect among teens, something must be done fast in order to prevent another generation of cigarette smokers and a generation where people remain uninformed of the way things we put into our body’s affect us long-term.

While “juuling” is technically not legal to adolescents, access has become easy enough to spot at least one person charging their Juul in their computer USB port in every high school class.

The same way “Smoking Kills,” “juuling” may indeed have the same effect. If no action is taken soon, we are looking at yet another smoking generation, and I for one as someone who has been deeply affected by the results of cigarette smoking, refuse to accept that.

Say no to even “one hit.” It simply is not worth it.

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