The Real Truth Behind the JUUL

We have all seen the many anti-vaping and smoking ads that come across our social media. Most of them show teenagers that have committed themselves to a life without smoking/vaping, but something not really expressed is the teens who unfortunately fallen victim to nicotine addiction.  

 

I hate to admit that I am addicted to the JUUL, but it is the truth.

 

I starting JUULing at the beginning of Summer 2018, when I was only 17. At first, I was bumming hits off of my friends who had JUULs. It was a rare occasion but truthfully I wanted to seem as cool as my other friends. It seemed as if everyone I knew was doing it and I just wanted to fit in. However, I honestly enjoyed it. The ‘buzz’ that it gave was something that I craved more and more.

 

On the day of my 18th birthday, I purchased my first JUUL. I quickly began ripping it every chance I could get: when I was in my car, when I was on break at work, and when I was sitting alone in my room (which I did quite frequently). Being successful at hiding it from my mom, and seeing all my friends do the same, I did not think that it was that big of a deal. The $16 dollars a week I had to pay, seemed like a small fee for the ‘nic buzz’ it was giving me.

 

As I started my first semester at College, things became drastically worse. I was thrown into a community where it seemed as if everyone JUULed, and where I was constantly at liberty to hit the JUUL whenever I pleased. My $16 a week multiplied, as I began going through packs twice as fast.

 

I still did not see that big of a deal about it, until there was more media coverage about the topic. The first instance I realized the problem was when they discontinued the Mango JUUL pod. Many memes were created about this event, and I admit I laughed thoroughly at them. However, I was concerned about how upset it made me. Mango being my go-to pod of choice at that point, I considered if it was even worth JUULing anymore. This was my first attempt at quitting. And it was a failed attempt.

 

When I first started JUULing, all I ever heard about it was how fun it was, and how the ‘nic buzz’ felt so good. Of course, I knew that nicotine addiction was a serious possibility but I had the mindset of “that will never happen to me”. But it did happen to me. I never anticipated the withdrawals to be that prevalent, and the anxiety that it would cause me.

 

I caved and went back to JUULing consistently.

 

Although I cannot speak for everyone, those that I know who are in a similar position as I am are ashamed about their dependency to the JUUL. Many want to quit but are afraid and unsure how to.

 

This brings us to the question: How can we help fix this issue?

 

For starters, I think it is important to drop the judgment that lingers around people who use the JUUL and other nicotine products. We are young, we make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes have a lasting effect. I believe that if we begin an open conversation, in which people feel comfortable to talk about it, we can have a community that supports those who wish to quit. This is a different situation than those who are trying to quit cigarettes, these are confused teenagers that may not have known what they had gotten themselves into. They have kept it secret from their parents and maybe even some of their friends. Therefore, we must approach this situation differently, and create a respectful environment for those struggling with these issues.

 

Perhaps the change of Virginia nicotine laws will help solve this epidemic, but first, we must provide support to those who want to quit.

 

My word of advice for those who may consider JUULing or vaping: don’t. The financial loss and nicotine dependency is not worth it. I have found myself in a dilemma that I could have easily avoided, by simply choosing not to JUUL.

 

For more information, I encourage you to check out the National Center for Health Research or Yale Medicine’s article on vaping. Links below.

http://www.center4research.org/the-dangers-of-juuling/

https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/teen-vaping/