Even if you’ve never heard of the Juul brand, chances are you’ve seen it multiple times. These e-cigarettes look like little USB sticks, with these tiny sticks gripped in between the fingers of working professionals and teens alike.
Indeed, Juul devices are now so prominent that The Observer notes how teens have started to coin the term 'juul-ing' as a replacement of the term ‘vaping’. This may be confusing to some, as Juul devices are technically a kind of vape or e-cigarette. Juul’s founders, however, constructed their product so as to make vapes more modern and acceptable.
The rise of the Juul
Since the company was founded in 2015, they were able to transform from a small start-up made by graduate students into a multibillion-dollar company. While Juul was made as an alternative to cigarettes, the founders also modeled the device’s appearance to be sleeker and more minimalist — especially in comparison to the bigger devices that are as big as a pack of cards. Juul was also created for easy use, foregoing any of the complicated setting and buttons for a device that immediately vaporizes the liquid with each inhale.
Juul’s rise to prominence is a testament to clever marketing. Marketing researchers found Juul’s campaigns to be heavy on social media, which could perhaps explain why the device grew so popular so quickly. This exposure has proved dangerous for lots of teenagers who are now thinking of Juul devices as some sort of status symbols.
False claims about health benefits
Part of Juul’s popularity comes from the pods themselves, which are produced in a whole host of flavors. Juul pods with mango or cucumber flavoring are what make the device so addictive. More insidiously, these flavors establish the idea that Juuls are the lesser evil between cigarettes. While it’s true that Juuls don’t contain harmful additives such as tar and other chemicals, the pods actually contain double the amount of nicotine.
Even though more research has to be done regarding the health effects of inhaling Juul’s flavor additives, the presence of nicotine alone is dangerous enough. As a matter of fact, Juuls actually contain the most nicotine out of all leading e-cigarettes. Although statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal a record-breaking low for smoking among Americans, it isn't a cause for celebration just yet. What this means is that people simply started turning to other means. Yes, vaping has inevitably bred a new generation of nicotine addicts. And nicotine, which comes in varying amounts in e-cigarettes, is said to be potentially at par with the addictiveness of heroin and cocaine.
This is particularly harmful for young people, whose brains have yet to be fully developed. According to an article on USA Today, nicotine addiction can lead to a myriad of cognitive and mental effects — from reduced impulse control and attention to deficit, to mood disorders and more. This is further supported by Maryville University who emphasize the crucial links between mental health and learning development. Adolescent brains are particularly susceptible to change, and forming a nicotine habit early on can make it harder to curb as they grow older, thus hampering their abilities in other aspects. All in all, this is what makes their prevalence amongst teens even more concerning.
Community representatives and research organizations have lobbied against Juul, saying its marketing is partly to blame for its popularity among teens. The company itself said that it would do better to fight against this epidemic, but this may be an uphill battle with so many of its products now in the market (even internationally).
Understanding Juul’s effects — or just even knowing its nicotine dosage — can help users curb their habit. For more information, our article Smoking or Smoke Recovery lists breathing strategies and natural homeopathic solutions as a way to curb addiction and help you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Written for breathing.com by Janet Arnold