Is The Juuling Trend As Harmless As It’s Made Out To Be?

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Comedy Central

Juuling is arguably one of the most viral trends of 2018. What started as an alternative to cigarettes has truly transformed into a cultural phenomenon. Even the most high-profile celebrities have caught on to the trend — everyone from Justin Bieber to Malia Obama — and including Bella Hadid’s designer Louis Vuitton Juul seen ‘round the world. This trendy vaping device is everywhere and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Not just a convenient smoking apparatus, the device is somewhat of an accessory for millennials. The packaging is sleek and sophisticated. Juul pods come in a variety of tasty flavors. Millennials and Gen-Z’ers have come to accept Juul as a safer alternative to smoking.

When speaking to a school friend about why they Juul, the answer was clear: it’s convenient. “When I used to smoke cigarettes, I had to leave the party or hang-out to do it. With a Juul, you can do it pretty much anywhere. Whereas people can get grossed out by you smoking a cigarette, they’re much more open to the idea of Juuling.”

For many young people, Juuling is a trendy and convenient pastime. Despite the fact that vaping or e-cigarette use is not technically allowed in many places, the discrete nature of a Juul has contributed to many people using the devices in schools, at work, on public transportation — practically anywhere. As an owner of a Juul myself, I personally find the social aspect of Juuling appealing. Juuls are convenient and popular on college campuses, where most people will beg you for a “hit.” (True story.) And while it’s definitely marketed as a ~safer cigarette~, a lot of us are probably wondering about the real health cost the Juul takes.

Nicotine Levels are Through the Roof

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s / Paramount Pictures

Yes, that’s right. That scary thing called nicotine? It’s found in Juul, too! According to the National Center for Health Research, Juul delivers “higher concentrations of nicotine than other e-cigarettes,” which concerns health care professionals. Not only is nicotine a highly addictive chemical, but it is also toxic to fetuses and is known to impair brain and lung development if used during adolescence.

What’s even more surprising? One Juul pod contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. If you’re going through one Juul pod every couple of days, that’s like smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.

In recent months, Juul has been under fire — pun not intended — for catering and advertising their products towards high schoolers and even middle schoolers. Vaping use has become commonplace in classrooms across the country. Schools teachers and administrators have complained that due to the devices’ sleek, slim packaging that resembles a USB drive, students are able to vape on the sly during school hours. Teachers have argued that students will blow the exhaled vape cloud into their jacket or backpack, easily hiding the fact that they’re vaping. This has resulted in middle and high schoolers becoming dependent and addicted to nicotine at a very young age when their brains are still developing.

Despite the fact that one must be 21 to purchase a Juul or Juul pod, many younger people have found ways around the law, including “black market” websites, eBay, and even Craigslist. The FDA even went as far to prohibit listing Juuls on the website.

Juul is also facing numerous lawsuits in several states claiming that the company’s products were deceptively marketed to youth under the legal smoking age. The FDA has stepped up their game in regulating e-cigarette companies and putting in policies that limit how e-cigarette companies can potentially market to children.

Juul as a Gateway to Actual Cigarette Smoking

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Saturday Night Live

Not only does the high level of nicotine lead to increased dependency on Juuling, studies have also shown that vaping or e-cigarette use can lead to increased use of actual cigarettes as well.

According to a 2017 study, non-smoking adults were “four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes after only 18 months of vaping,” which includes the use of Juul. In fact, this study is most relevant to Juul, in particular, because the company has a near-monopoly of the e-cigarette market. According to National Center for Health Research, Juul recently accounted for 68% of the $2 billion e-cigarette market.

To Vape or Not to Vape?

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Comedy Central

Although studies have shown that Juuling may lead to increased use of traditional cigarettes, many consumers also use the devices to quit cigarettes and wean themselves off of nicotine. Although Juul does have a high level of nicotine, they may have fewer chemicals, tar, and other ingredients that are found in traditional cigarettes. In that respect, they may be “safer” to use.

However, Juul has contributed to a mass number of high school and middle students that are now hooked on nicotine. This is arguably catastrophic.

No matter whether you want to admit or not, Juuling has been one of the most culturally-dominating trends of 2018. Celebrities are using them, teens can’t get enough of them, and some of us simply enjoy a puff off of a friend’s Juul now and then. However, before you choose to buy into the trend, it’s vital that you know the potential risks to your health. If you’re under 21, there’s no way you should be using or buying a Juul. However, if you are of age, partake at your own risk. Just because somethings arguably safer doesn’t mean it’s safe.

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