The Juul: Cigarettes on steroids

Photo Submitted by Deja Mattis.

Maxwell Hale first started using a Juul four years ago, during his junior year of high school.

Hale, now a sophmore at Tallahassee Community College, heard about the Juul from a friend and found that it was a lot more socially acceptable “to Juul” than smoke actual cigarettes.

Justice Chin, a senior at Florida State University, started using the Juul in 2017. He was an active smoker and decided to try and use the Juul as a way to quit smoking. But it wasn’t long before he realized he was even more addicted than before.

“I am addicted to nicotine,” said Chin. “I probably have spent around $3,000 on Juuls. I have replaced eight Juuls using the warranty and I buy pods once every two and a half days.”

Cigarettes have been disguised as Juuls and are more popular than ever. It has a sleek and discreet design, the ability to be recharged on a laptop or wall charger within one hour and have liquid-filled pods that come in many different flavors such as mint, mango and cool cucumber. One Juul pod contains two packs of cigarettes’ worth of nicotine.

These e-cigarettes have the power to hook another generation on nicotine, which is a nightmare for health regulators who are trying to get people to quit.

In 2017, the e-cigarette market expanded by 40 percent, to $1.16 billion, a lot of that growth is driven by Juuls.

The Juul company is valued at over $38 billion, after the cigarette maker Altria bought a 35 percent stake in the company. Considering the Juul has only been on the market since 2015, and has so much competition, Juul’s value and market share are astonishing.

“In total I have bought two Juuls, one for $70 and another for $35,” said Hale. “The other four I had were acquired through the warranty program.”

The Juul comes with a one-year limited warranty from the date of purchase. Customers may process one Juul device warranty within a 90-day period. Any additional request for a replacement within the same 90-day period may be allowed with a receipt of the original device.

To prevent underage individuals  from buying a Juul, the company has made the legal attainable age 21 and over. However, with a simple year change to your birthday, it is very possible for minors to still buy them.

“I don’t turn 21 for another month, so I used my friend’s birthday and was able to order one easily,” said Nicolle Perez, FSU senior.

In most social settings like parties or kickbacks, a lot of young adults are using their Juul and passing them around for friends and acquaintances to use. It is also a way to start a conversation, becoming a topic of discussion.

A lot of young adults don’t believe they’re addicted. They says they use Juuls as something to do in social settings or because it’s “what’s in” at the moment.

“I know for a fact I do not need to use my Juul,” said Perez. “It’s simply more comforting in a social setting to hold something, like a drink.”

There isn't a negative social stigma surrounding the Juul like there is with cigarettes. They’re odorless and easier to conceal which appeals more to young adults.

The Juul has impacted the lives of millions all over the world. Plenty believe they are beneficial and have helped them quit their smoking addiction not realizing they are in fact smoking twice the amount.