KATHERINE HOLMAN ’20
One beautiful summer day, I was making the trek to Cape Cod, Massachusetts with one of my friends. We had Spotify blasting as we were stuck in Cape Cod bumper-to-bumper traffic; remaining that way for the next hour. All of a sudden, in the car next to us, we spot a teenager using what seems to have become the universal sign for millennials: the Juul. What happens next is a comedic exchange between strangers that I have seen countless times at Trinity. Both cars rolled down their windows and proceeded to yell obnoxious phrases at each other, such as- “JUUL NATION” or “WHAT POD?!”. It is amazing to think that a flashy smoking device no more than four inches long, that looks like a USB has the ability to bring together strangers. But how great is the Juul? How much do we actually know about the Juul?
Originally marketed as the “alternative for adult smokers,” the Juul was introduced as a way for the world’s one billion smokers to help transition from cigarettes. The Juul is beneficial in this way, as it does not contain the carcinogenic smoke or ash that cigarettes have because it is a vaporizing device. Instead, the Juul converts a liquid formula of nicotine into vapor at an ideal temperature. Although if you ask, most people that I have run into who are avid Juul users were not previously addicted to cigarettes.
The Juul website states in their mission that the Juul is different from most alternative forms of smoking because it accommodates nicotine levels equivalent to a cigarette’s “in order to satisfy smokers switching.”But what does that really mean? The smoker is still getting the same amount of nicotine they would be getting if they were to smoke a cigarette. So theoretically, if one had not been addicted to nicotine before the Juul, they certainly have a great chance of being addicted now. On the back of a four-pod Juul pack in fine writing, it states, “1 JUULpod contains 0.7mL with 5% nicotine by weight – approximately equivalent to about 1 pack of cigarettes”. So if one finished half a pod per day, they are technically consuming around three and a half packs of cigarettes per week. If you want to get really technical, there are about 200 puffs in one Juul pod and approximately 20 cigarettes in 1 pack. So if you wanted to limit your smoking to equivocate one cigarette per day, you would have to make sure you did not smoke more than 10 puffs of one pod in one day… and that’s realistic, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I admit to being an avid Juul user. I’m one of the students you will see exiting their first class of the morning with the Juul in hand before I walk out the door. Prior to my introduction to the Juul, I had smoked cigarettes only on occasion; when I was stressed or out at a party. It would probably take me a couple of weeks just to finish one pack. Now that I am using the Juul, I can easily finish one pod in a day. With that being said, I know that I am not consuming the carcinogenic smoke that a cigarette delivers, but still, one pack a day in regard to nicotine is pretty alarming. I’ve noticed that if I lose the Juul and am unable to obtain another one within the next couple of days, I will start showing signs of nicotine withdrawal (sweaty palms, nausea, headaches, increased irritability etc.)
So why not quit? The boosting effects of nicotine seemed to have captured me. But I’m not sure if it’s the nicotine that should fully take the blame here. The slick design of the Juul and the flashiness of the different flavored pods have led to the nickname- “iPhone of e-cigs”. The Juul is so discrete that people are able to use it practically everywhere. At Camp Trin, they have become so popular that living a day without running into a Juul has become almost impossible. Like most new drugs, the long lasting effects of the Juul are still unknown. In my opinion, I feel as if we will soon start to see a new generation of smokers in the coming years due to this new trend. Although I admit to being a victim of the Juul, I also believe that we have a big problem on our hands. While the Juul is an easy trend to get into, once you start, it’s hard to stop.