The Truth About the College JUUL Craze

American University prides itself on the fact that it is a tobacco free campus. As a freshman last year, I hardly noticed people around campus smoking. However, this year has changed dramatically. At all hours of the day, I have seen students smoking in not only designated smoking spots, but right outside academic buildings (which is not permitted). What has caused such an increase in the number of smokers on campus?

The amount of smoking on campus has increased after the sudden rise in popularity of the JUUL, an e-cigarette that is small enough to be hidden in a closed fist. The vapor also has no odor, which makes it more discrete to smoke both indoors and outdoors. I have spotted the JUUL almost everywhere around college. From class, to the library, and parties, this vape pen has quickly become integrated into college culture.  On the JUUL website, the company ensures that the product is a "satisfying alternative to cigarettes" because it uses natural nicotine salts as opposed to the free-based nicotine used in cigarettes. However, one JUUL pod is the equivalent to smoking one pack of cigarettes

JUUL also make appetizing flavors like mango and creme brulee. as well as includes a USB-charger. 

At other colleges across the country, the JUUL craze is sweeping students. At the University of Illinois, a student journalist called the rising JUUL popularity an "epidemic". The  e-cigarette has caused so much frustration at Penn State University that the device is banned on campus. Although you must be 18 to legally buy and own a JUUL, the device has gained popularity in high schools as well. The first person to tell me about the JUUL was a high school junior. 

So how dangerous is the JUUL? Because e-cigarettes are a relatively new alternative to smoking, their long-term effects are unknown. However, there is enough research to know that the vapor inhaled can be harmful because it contains nicotine. Nicotine is not only extremely addictive, but it can cause damage to brain function over time.  Most teens who smoke e-cigs are unaware that they even contain nicotine; in a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, only 13% knew that they did. 66% believed that it was only flavoring.

The rise of the popularity of e-cigarettes and smoking on college campuses is a dangerous concern that should be addressed at American. Although owning a JUUL is considered "cool" and normal to many students, students should be educated about the negative long-term effects and weigh this information carefully with their desire to fit in.


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