For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Feb 27 2018
by Alexandra DeLuca

PSA: JUULs Aren't As Safe As You Thought They Were

By Alexandra DeLuca - Feb 27 2018

2015 gave us the hoverboard, 2016 gave us the fidget spinner and 2017 gifted America with a product that swept the nation and won the hearts (and lungs) of high school and college students everywhere: the JUUL.

Stanford graduates James Monsees and Adam Bowen co-founded JUUL in 2015 after using their backgrounds in design to create a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. The JUUL is a popular e-cigarette that has infiltrated the campuses of high schools and colleges across the nation over the past year. The JUUL is popular for its discreet look, notorious throat hit and use of “non-tobacco sourced nicotine salts.” It claims to be “unlike any other smoking alternative.” Each JUUL pod contains 0.7mL with 5% nicotine, which is equivalent to 1 pack of cigarettes.

Just a few weeks ago, rumors about the JUUL and its alleged consequences circulated around group chats everywhere; messages spread warning JUUL smokers to stop using the e-cigarette because someone had developed lung cancer just after a year of using the e-cig. Naturally, panic struck and people began flushing their beloved JUULs down the toilet, sending enraged e-mails to JUUL Vapor and contemplating life. If JUUL was wrong, then what was right? There was an outpour of rage from people who couldn’t believe that something inherently harmful could actually cause harm. All it took was one low-quality screenshot of a chain-message to get hundreds, maybe thousands of people to stop using their JUUL. And it was impressive.

As expected, JUUL came forward shortly after with a statement defending their product. They shared the following:

Source: JUUL Labs

A wave of relief washed over JUUL users everywhere when they heard news of that statement and many made amends with their e-cigs, while others took advantage of the opportunity to ditch their JUUL without having to explain to their friends that they only used it for the aesthetic and didn’t really enjoy vaping. But, JUUL does make a good point at the end of their sermon: the smartest thing to do is to not pick up nicotine-containing products in the first place. JUULs were created for harm reduction; so if you weren’t a smoker before using the JUUL, you’re inducing harm rather than reducing it because (quick maths) you technically can’t reduce harm from a habit that was never there to begin with. And although the JUUL was created to be a healthier alternative, it isn’t per se “healthy”. JUUL states on their website:

 "No tobacco or e-liquid product should ever be considered 'safe' [and] we encourage consumers to do their own research regarding vapor products and what is right for them."

From what I’ve seen on college and high school campuses, the JUUL has become more of a trendy accessory and less of a smoking alternative. The multitude of accessories for the JUUL doesn’t help this either. Some websites now sell JUUL skins that allow you to customize your e-cig with images of anything from your dog in a bow tie to you and your friends, because who doesn’t wanna stare at those they love while getting their daily fix? Other websites even sell fidget spinner attachments for the JUUL so you can spin while you smoke. 

Trends come and go, but health is forever. For the sake of our generation’s respiratory health, let’s hope the JUUL fad dies out before somebody actually does. 

Lead Image Credit: Alexandra DeLuca

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Alexandra DeLuca - Sante Fe College

A journalism major at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida.

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