Something in the air: The rise of Juuling among adolescents


Bethany Hansel, Managing Editor

You catch a glimpse of the small, quickly dissipating cloud of smoke. It clouds up cars, it ascends to the ceiling from the bathroom stall next to you, it fills up your friend’s room. The cloud seems to be everywhere, and everyone seems to be doing it. What is going on?

We are in the midst of the rise of the Juul. The Juul is a somewhat new vape product that resembles a flash drive and can be charged in a laptop’s USB port. To be clear, Juuling is known to be addictive, may have long term health risks, is against the law for individuals under the age of 18, and is against Tallwood’s Code of Conduct. However, because the Juul’s popularity among teenagers has substantially increased in the last few years, the Roaring Gazette was interested in gaining a glimpse into the recent Juul phenomenon.

The Roaring Gazette conducted exclusive interviews with three Tallwood students who regularly Juul to gain a sense of why exactly they do it and how their lives are affected by it. For the sake of confidentiality, the students will be identified as Student 1, Student 2, and Student 3.

Two of the students agreed that its easy accessibility and greater acceptance among the general public was a great contributor to their Juuling habits.  

“I Juul because it doesn’t reek like cigarettes and it’s more accessible because you can do it inside,” explained Student 1.

“It’s more accessible, I can smoke inside and people don’t get upset because it’s not cigarettes,” explained Student 2.

Student 3 admitted that peer pressure and the fact that all their friends were engaging in the activity had the most influence on them Juuling.

“I just Juul because other people do it,” stated Student 3.

The students also outlined a couple other reasons for their original introduction into Juuling. According to Ashley Gould, the chief administrative officer at Juul Labs, Juuls were created with the purpose of helping people quit smoking (Ducharme, 2018). One of the interviewed Tallwood students admitted that this was precisely the reason that they began Juuling in the first place.  

“I wanted a vape-type thing to quit cigarettes,” stated Student 1.

Other students stated that it was simply that it was their peers that originally got them into it.  Both Student 2 and Student 3 said that their peers were responsible for introducing the concept to them and getting them to Juul for the first time.

“My coworker got me one. We were able to smoke (not cigarettes) in the back at work so most of us had a Juul or vape of some sort,” stated Student 2.

“I started Juuling because of my friends,” stated Student 3.

The Roaring Gazette was curious as to just how much students were Juuling, as Juuling seems to have become a popular practice among teens. Because of the Juul design and their resemblance to USB drives, as well as the fact that they produce less smoke than many other devices, Juuls can be easy for students to use at school without drawing too much attention to themselves. Two out of three of the interviewed students admitted to Juuling while at school, and several other students claimed that it was normal to see other students Juuling while on school grounds.

One of the aspects of Juuls that make them so appealing is the fact that they come in various flavors.

“I like the strawberries and cream flavor,” stated Student 1.

“I like the mint flavor,” stated Student 3.

Despite how appealing they are and the fact that they are supposed to be safer than cigarettes and other similar types of products, Juuling comes with its own set of dangers. Each Juul cartridge, which lasts about 200 puffs, is said to have as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes (Ducharme, 2018). Because of this, the interviewed students were asked how this might affect them and whether they consider themselves addicted. Two out of the three students admitted that they would consider themselves addicted, but all three students claimed that they wanted to stop eventually.

“Sure [I will quit eventually] but that time is not now,” stated Student 1.

“I’m probably gonna stop Juuling but I’m not sure if I’m going to stop smoking nicotine products all together,” stated Student 2.

While the Juul was meant to solve the long-standing issue of smoking, Juuling has only seemed to lead to a whole new problem. Dr. Michael Kelly, the Principal at Cox High School, even took to youtube to address this issue. The rise of the Juuling phenomenon is just a new iteration of an age-old problem, and the issue of teens smoking will probably not be going away anytime soon.