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Beware the 'Juul' Epidemic (Part 2)

Juul: A Double-Edged Sword (Part 2)

Among the media news coverage inflicted upon viewers every day, which usually involves headlines pertaining to various global disasters or conflicting world leaders, one subject has seemed to recently rise above the rest: vaping. If you are completely out of the loop you may be wondering, how could something seemingly so minuscule suddenly become a national concern? Within the past two months, an influx of reports has been released stating numerous hospitalizations of minors all tied to vaping, or more specifically Juuling. Along with these hospitalizations, there have been six documented deaths due to severe lung damage caused by vaping. Although, there is no medical research to support that Juuling is the primary suspect towards these cases, the fact that every patient interviewed has admitted to Juuling shows a commonality that people should be concerned about.

Juul’s Rise in Popularity Among Young Users

As a college student myself, I had a front-row seat to Juul’s rise in the party scene. It seemed that before Juul’s popularity, the younger generation fought against the tobacco industry. Initially, the Juul was created to aid heavy smokers on their path to quitting cigarettes, which is the general goal of the vaping industry. Before Juuls, I have vivid memories of my generation making fun of people who vape recreationally, making jokes about “smoking fat clouds” and saying that people who vaped looked ridiculous. During my freshman year of college vaping among party-goers was basically non-existent, cigarettes were still prevalent, but most people I knew were against smoking. At the beginning of my sophomore year, the hypocrisy arose and almost everyone owned a Juul. So, what happened? What sparked this popularity in recreational vaping? While there is no actual explanation as to why Juuling is now considered a personality trait, there are some key aspects that make this vape product different from all of the rest that may help us understand this trend. 

Original vaping mechanisms were made fun of because of how bulky they were. Not only was the actual body of the vape ridiculously large, but the amount of smoke that released was equally considered just as obnoxious. In conclusion, they were inconvenient to hold on your person and whenever someone took a hit the cloud could be seen from a mile away. When Juul’s were introduced people were drawn to its size, in fact, many memes on social media have compared it to a flash drive. Its sleek style and portability make this style of vaping seem less embarrassing, and, even better, it doesn’t release fat, white clouds. Compared to other vaping products, the Juul body itself is cheaper to buy and accessible. Some vapes are offered from $40-$100, not including the vape juice itself, and can only be bought online or at vape shops. The Juul is reasonably priced at $25 for a starter pack, which includes the Juul, the charger, and a few different pod flavors at any local gas station or online. Also, the pods themselves, depending on where you live, are $17 for a pack of four. Even with these minor differences, the root of the popularity behind Juuling among young users stems from its trending, which usually starts by celebrities. Without necessarily intending for their viewers to follow their every move, celebrities impact social movements and trends. When celebrities like Bella Hadid, Halsey, and Sophie Turner, who all have a predominantly younger viewing audience, were seen Juuling it was no surprise that owning a Juul became the new trend. With all of these factors combined, it is clear that Juuling has become an epidemic and its users are unaware of the potential consequences.

The Dangers of Juuling

While there are no facts to back up that Juuling may cause serious lung damage, it is important to not discredit the numerous reports that have arisen. A common excuse among my peers who Juul is that many of the victims who have been hospitalized have smoked cigarettes before smoked THC through illegal cartridges, and have abused their ingestion of Juul pods. While this argument may be valid, the basic truth is that putting anything into your lungs is not good for you and nobody knows the permanent effects of Juuling, especially for undeveloped minors. The Juul was designed for those with a severe addiction to cigarettes, meaning that the nicotine level in one pod is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes. Because of its general popularity, many Juul users have never had a previous addiction to nicotine, and are now introducing themselves to an incredibly addictive product. Although people may say that it is easy to quit Juuling because it is not the same as cigarettes, the sad reality is one pod will want you craving another and then another until you can’t stop. 

For people with a severe addiction, this product may be great, but, as recent reports are showing, Juuls are used predominantly by minors and college students. The fact that high schoolers are easily buying Juuls shows an extreme regulation issue and introduces a new generation of nicotine addicts. While the sleek design of the Juul may make it more appealing to its intended users, it makes it easier to hide from parents or guardians. Those who support the Juul believe that stronger regulation, such as only making it available to purchase online, may help solve this issue, but I disagree. In this case, the bad outweighs the good. No matter the regulation, minors will still find a way to continue their habit, people are being hospitalized with lung issues tied to Juuling, vape - related deaths have occurred, and an epidemic of new addicts have aroused. With all of the other vaping products available there is no reason why the Juul is a necessity. If the societal consensus is to stop cigarette smoking and nicotine addiction, then there is no reason to continue distributing a product that directly benefits this toxic industry. 

 

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Sierra Joan Sierra Joan

 @Sierra Swanson  @sierrajoan  @sierrajoan_  @sierrajoan_

09/27/2019