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.