A Guide To Quitting Juuling And Other E-Cigarettes


Medically reviewed by Dr. Maroof Ahmed, MD on January 9, 2019

First it was was smoking, then it was vaping. Now, the trend is ‘juuling’. This novel flash drive lookalike e-cigarette has become so popular that it has merited its own verb form.

Whilst, studies have shown that Juul may be effective in helping adult smokers switch from cigarettes, a so called juuling ‘epidemic‘ has emerged among young people. Teenagers are now more likely to vape than smoke, with the Juul being rated the top brand of e-cigarettes by American young people.

So, what exactly appeals about the Juul? Unlike traditional vaping devices, which have to be refilled with e-liquids, the Juul contains replaceable cartridges or ‘juul pods’ that contain nicotine salts. These crystallized e-liquids arrive in such a range of fruit medleys that they were recently referred to as “unicorn puke” by a spokesperson from the food and drug administration (FDA). Pop these crystals into a shiny vaporiser and the Juul starts to look like a pretty fancy device.

However, the Juul may be less innocent than its creme brulee flavouring suggests. Although the Juul can help with quitting smoking, experts from the FDA are concerned that it is not being used (or advertised) for this purpose. As with any activity involving nicotine, juuling is highly addictive and users may quickly become dependent on it.

We have had a good, hard look at the evidence and put together this article as a guide to anyone who has become unwillingly hooked on juul.

What is so wrong with juuling?

Ask anyone from tobacco control and they will tell you juuling is the lesser of two evils. The dubious content in e-liquids and juul pods are not remotely comparable to the levels of toxic chemicals in traditional cigarettes. Public Health England has stated that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Products like Juul can replenish the nicotine delivered by traditional cigarettes so that the user can then work to quit smoking.

The problem lies with the emerging trend of young adults taking up vaping and juuling even when they have never tasted tobacco. Use of the Juul has increased by 78% in American high schoolers over the last year, whilst use of tobacco cigarettes in this cohort is declining.

The picture gets messy when we start to look at the use of juuling in these young age groups. High school teachers are understandably concerned that their degree of control over this ‘epidemic’ is getting out of hand. The aesthetic of the Juul makes it very easy to conceal in educational settings.

And why is this more worrying than a tamagotchi trend? Well, the concentration of nicotine in juul pods is far higher than traditional cigarettes, carrying an almost certain risk of nicotine addiction for all users.

Whilst nicotine is not necessarily harmful in itself, e-cigarette products like the Juul have unknown health effects. International oncology journals have stipulated that it is impossible to call such products safe at this point. Indeed, emerging research has revealed potential carcinogenic compounds in the urine of e-cigarette users. The cohort in this study were as young as sixteen. You can read more about the potential health dangers of e-cigarettes here.

Even more alarmingly, a piece of recent research found that use of e-cigarettes predicted future cigarette smoking in twelfth grade students. This has led some educators to go so far as to describe the Juul as a gateway drug. The FDA and the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) have thankfully heard these concerns. There is now a push to increase restrictions on the e-cigarette market for young people.

Even if you’re not juuling in the classroom, there is a message to take from this. Although e-cigarette products like the Juul have helped some people quit tobacco, they are not necessarily safe in themselves. More to the point, there is a significant risk of nicotine addiction, which can lead to users to take up smoking or revert to a previous smoking habit.

The steps to quit juuling

No matter how old you are, the good news is that it is possible to quit juuling and avoid the potential dangers. Even if you are a smoker who has started using Juul to overcome your bad habit, there are much safer types of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) out there.

Nicotine replacement therapy

Medically approved NRT methods such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum are highly effective for helping users overcome a nicotine addiction. These products help relieve the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal when quitting tobacco products or e-cigarettes.

A doctor or pharmacist can instruct you on slowly reducing your dose of NRT comfortably and safely while you are quitting Juul. You can also consult Quit Genius’ complete guide to nicotine gum for further information on how to use NRT gum.

Behavioural support

Evidence suggests that NRT may be most effective when used alongside behavioural support such as motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).

CBT methods have the strongest evidence base for effectively helping people overcome a number of mental health and behavioural issues, including nicotine addiction. CBT teaches you skills to help you challenge how you think and feel about juuling, so that you can change your habits.

Speaking to a qualified coach is the best way to get started with your CBT quit plan. The good news is that this support can be accessed quickly and easily with CBT-based apps like Quit Genius.

Quit Genius was initially developed to help users with smoking cessation but it can help you quit juuling too. The app breaks down cycles of addiction by taking you through various exercises and allowing you to track your habits. You will have access to a trained quit coach who can offer support and help you troubleshoot triggers.

Take-home message

Whether we call it an epidemic or not, there is no denying that juuling has become wildly popular, particularly among young people. Despite the excitement these devices provide, experts simply cannot be sure of their dangers at this stage. On top of that, the risk of addiction is significant.

If you’ve developed an addiction to juuling and want to stop, there is plenty of help available. A safe form of NRT combined with a supportive intervention like CBT is the best way to quit nicotine products like the Juul. CBT-based apps like Quit Genius can help you quit Juul from the convenience of your smartphone.

Download the Quit Genius app today to start your quitting journey through the convenience of your smartphone. Start your journey ->

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