Nullifying Normal Cigarettes, but Is the JUUL Safe?

Vaping on the rise, especially among teens


Lidia Vidal

JUUL e-cigarette

James Mulkern, Staff Writer

At the end of 2017, the JUUL became the most popular electronic cigarette in the United States and has been proven widely popular and used often by youth, particularly teenagers. Introduced by PAX Labs in 2015, the JUUL e-cigarette contains a salt-based nicotine e-liquid intended to “satisfy smokers while transitioning away from cigarettes.”

It is worth noting that JUUL  is often used by teens in the bathrooms of schools.”

— James Mulkern

A 2017 study found that 7 percent of teenagers ages 15-17 and 12 percent of young adults ages 18-24 use JUUL. But “JUUL should not be used by those under the legal age, nor should any nicotine products, as stated by the U.S. Surgeon General,” says Former PAX Labs CEO Tyler Goldman. It is worth noting that JUUL  is often used by teens in the bathrooms of schools. Teens use the word “vaping” to describe their use of JUUL.

There are many reasons that contribute to JUUL’s use among youth. Its resemblance to a flash drive makes it easy to conceal, and its low vapor output and subtle scent can be mistaken for perfume, so it can be used secretly in class. It can also be concealed in clothing or elsewhere.

Its sleek, high-tech design, has been compared to that of the iPhone, and teens might find that appealing, too.

Thirdly, the JUUL’s sweet flavors, especially the fruit and creme brulee ones, are especially attractive to children, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

JUUL is attractive to those trying to quit smoking. “Our mission is to get adult smokers to switch away from cigarettes,” says Ashley Gould, JUUL’s chief administrative officer. “The designers wanted to make a product that wouldn’t visually remind people of cigarettes since they are trying to quit, but still provide the same nicotine delivery and sensory aspects of a cigarette,” Gould says. Furthermore, the JUUL is easier to use indoors, because it produces minimal byproduct, so the smoker does not blow an obnoxious cloud of smoke and vapor.

Although JUUL is marketed as an alternative for adults who smoke tobacco cigarettes, and one might assume that it is not as dangerous because it lacks tobacco, a JUUL delivers a strong dose of nicotine, so it could potentially be as addictive as a traditional cigarette.

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Some might argue that “electronic cigarettes are without a doubt safer than regular cigarettes and the immediate harms from using them have been minimal so far,” according to Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences at Boston University, but it does not mean JUULs are harmless. Those who vape are still inhaling a lot of chemicals besides vapor, especially if the vapor has flavoring agents. Inhaling e-cigarettes such as the JUUL can worsen asthma and other lung conditions. The amount of nicotine in each cartridge is also substantially more than the majority of e-cigarettes and is enough to get the user addicted.

It is good to know that tobacco cigarettes are slowly becoming obsolete due to the e-cigarette alternative, but unless used as a means to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, those who do not already smoke should stay away from JUUL or any other e-cigarette.