The JUUL, a new alternative to cigarettes and an improved version of a vape or E-cigarette, has blown up in popularity since its release in 2015. In the JUUL Vapor statement, the product was originally intended to “positively impact the lives of adult smokers around the globe.” Meaning, ultimately, that the JUUL was intended be a better alternative than cigarettes for adult smokers.
Each disposable flavored pod contains the amount of nicotine that is in whole pack of cigarettes, making converting to the JUUL easier for smokers than quitting altogether. But the use of this product has unfortunately become a huge trend amount of young adults and even teens with previous dependencies on cigarettes.
Despite JUUL putting a 21+ age restriction on purchasing the devices and their pods through their website and an 18+ restriction on in-store purchases, there seems to be little progress with battling this trend. Of his peers using JUULs, high school senior, Bradley Best, expressed concern, “I don’t think most people that use JUULs really know how much nicotine is in them.”
To make matters worse, there is also the issue of young adults purchasing JUULs for their younger peers. Regarding this, Best said, “Most kids under 18 years old know people that are old enough to get them, and most people don’t mind buying them for the younger people.” What many of age adults do not consider when purchasing JUULs for their younger peers, is that they are not the same as other vapes or e-cigarettes because JUULs have a very high set level of nicotine with each flavor sold, and do not allow you to adjust this level.
JUULs are very thin and lightweight. They resemble a flash drive and even contain advanced features which allow them to be charged through a computer USB port. Each JUUL device is sold with a starter pack containing four flavors of disposable JUUL pods; popular flavors for JUUL pods include “creme brulee” and “fruit medley.” There is also a tobacco flavor, for those to wish for their JUUL experience to resemble smoking a cigarette.
Each pod will typically last up to two days for a regular smoker. That is, again, the amount of nicotine contained in nearly an entire pack of cigarettes, consumed in only one day. JUULs are also simpler in design than many other vapes which are much larger, bulky and have a greater risk of burning out than JUULs. The JUUL’s sleek design and accessible features makes it look rather appealing, even to those who were never apart of the vaping crowd. Twenty-year-old Jordan McCarty, is not at all surprised at this new trend, “Vapes have always been a thing and this one specific one just blew up because they are affordable, you can buy them at gas stations and they are really easy to smoke.”
Cigarettes have been deemed a deadly form of nicotine, having hence being banned from most public areas, and throughout the American education system, there is extensive education on its negative effects. Even though JUULs and other vapes are said to be a less harmful way to consume nicotine than smoking, there has not been enough time to conduct extensive research on their long term effects.
There were rumors that teenagers smoking the JUUL have developed cancer but this claim has been debunked. Still, there is speculation that the level of nicotine that JUULs contain will disrupt young people’s’ developing brains.
While the JUUL’s level of nicotine can have negative effects on new and young smokers, it is a more cost efficient and healthier alternative for active cigarette smokers. Each JUUL pack of pods costs $15.99, which contains four separate pods. This is a better deal for consumers, as the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $5.51 nationwide.
JUULs are much easier to smoke in public than a cigarette, and therefore one could reason that JUUL users may go through pods quicker than smoking a single cigarette. McCarty, who has been an avid smoker for nearly four years, has found an alternative in the JUUL. Since purchasing the JUUL, McCarty has slowly become detached from her cigarettes, and has now quit them altogether. McCarty “It smells better and it’s better for your lungs. [It] doesn’t have the tar and the harsh chemicals cigarettes have. I had a vape before and never really got into it, but the JUUL was so much more convenient.”
Only time will tell the long term effects of JUUL smoking. Until then, the JUUL seems to be a better habit for cigarette smokers to take on, but the start of bad habits for young adults and teens.