Interview With a 15 Year Old Juul Addict

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A student who is masked to hide their identity is pictured here hitting their Juul. Unlike other popular vape pens, Juuls don’t create large clouds of smoke. By blowing the smoke into their sleeve, this student is able to smoke their Juul in public undetected.

Smoking a Juul (pronounced “jewel”), a new type of vaporizer pen (e-cigarettes that vaporize flavored nicotine “juice”), has become a trend here at Loy Norrix. Everywhere you look someone is blowing their thin, nicotine rich smoke into their sleeve.

Why are they so popular? Is it the new, compact look that makes them so much easier to hide than classic vape pens? Is it the higher nicotine concentration they offer to users? Or is it just a trend, something that will pass shortly? These are questions only a user could answer.

Over spring break I sat down with a self proclaimed Juul addict to discuss this new trend. They’re a freshman at Loy Norrix who just turned fifteen and they spend upwards of 30 dollars a week on “pods,” cartridges you attach to the Juul that contain the nicotine juice users fiend for. This student chose to remain anonymous to avoid their parents finding out about their addiction, but their message remains clear and powerful – Juuls are addictive and bad for your health. According to “My Addiction: Tobacco, Smoking and Nicotine Addiction Statistics and Facts” many diseases are linked to tobacco and nicotine, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung cancer, cancer of the kidney, cancer of the larynx and neck, mouth cancer and breast cancer. Not only that, but those who are being affected negatively by this trend are vulnerable young people who may not even realize what they’re getting themselves into.

Reporter: So tell me a little bit about your Juul and how it works. Tell me about the product itself. If you had to explain how to use a Juul to someone who’s never done it before how would you do that?

Anon: You have to get a starter kit. It comes with a Juul, a charger and four pods. A pod is what the juice is in. They’re disposable, you use it once. People do refill them though. You can only buy a pack of four pods and it’s 16 dollars. One pod is the equivalent to the same amount of nicotine in one pack of cigarettes, but it’s cheaper. A lot of people call them [Juuls] the “Apple of vapes” because they’re so simple, you don’t really have to do anything. It looks like a flash drive.

Reporter: Tell me about the first time you smoked a Juul. Why did you do it? Why do you continue to do it?

Anon: The first time was in the lunchroom. Everyone else was hitting it and I was like “alright, I want to try that.” I guess I knew there was nicotine in it, but I had no idea that it had so much. When I hit it for the first time it was, like, really crazy. I felt a really big buzz off of barely anything.

It hurt my throat more than anything else I’ve done. I hit it and coughed immediately. At first it was just fun and it was something that you could do anywhere. It’s so easy. Then it just became something I was doing nonstop, but I still felt a buzz. Now, I go crazy if I don’t have it. I don’t even feel a buzz anymore.

Reporter: What happens when you don’t have it?

Anon: I get really short with people. The only thing on my mind is how can I get pods? How can I tell my parents I’m going somewhere else? When can I get them?

Reporter: Are there any specific instances where you’ve acted in a way you wish you wouldn’t have because you couldn’t get pods?

Anon: I stole money from my parent once. Out of their wallet. I’m not super mean to people or anything. I’ve been one day without pods since the beginning of the year. For the last three months I’ve been one a day, so it’s like a pack of cigarettes everyday. I kind of stop everything else everyone is doing and try and get pods, that’s something I regret.

Reporter: So would you call yourself an addict?

Anon: Yes.

Reporter: What makes you say that?

Anon: I literally cannot go, like, an hour without hitting my Juul. If I don’t have pods, it’s a crisis.

Reporter: Does it interfere with other aspects of your life? What happens when you’re with your parents and need to hit your Juul?

Anon: I hit it. I go in the bathroom. In my dad’s car, I hit it all the time. If I’m in a situation where I’m with a bunch of people and there’s no way I can turn my back or anything, I go to the bathroom. I’m definitely not hungry like I should be. I don’t eat as much as I should anymore because I’m literally always hitting my Juul and nicotine is a really strong appetite suppressant.

Reporter: Do you see yourself smoking your Juul for a long time?

Anon: Yeah. I don’t even want to think about stopping so it’s probably not going to happen. I only cut back when I’m forced to because I don’t have any money.

Reporter: Where do you get money for pods?

Anon: My dad. I borrow money from people sometimes. Obviously my dad doesn’t know I have a Juul. I always tell him that I’m going out somewhere and that I need money.

Reporter: What would you tell someone who is about to hit a Juul for the first time?

Anon:  It hurts really bad and you’re going to feel really weird if you’ve never taken a hit. Anyone who owns a Juul is addicted no matter what they say.

According to Time Health, e-cigarettes aren’t quite as safe as they’ve been thought to be in the past. Recent studies that the article highlighted show that e-cigarettes reduce your ability to cough and may expose your body to potentially harmful chemicals. On top of that, different e-cigarette flavors may have different effects. What’s worst? Even though they’ve been marketed to help people quit smoking, they don’t have that effect. The companies selling them, including Juul, know all of this.

7 comments

  1. The one thing he said isn’t true. I use a juul, up too 3 pods a day every day for like 2 months. I am in no way addicted because I have gone 5 days without doing it since being caught by a parent and am experiencing no withdrawal.

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    1. You’re still addicted however. Addiction isn’t just being able to go with out something, it’s the act of doing something repeatedly with the intrinsic reward. Think about it this way, if you drank as much as you used the juul, you’d be an alcoholic. Especially since you’re using three pods a day.

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  2. Don’t juul please I need it every second it’s so hard to quite I threw up today from not using it you guys don’t understand it destroys you this is worse than when I quite weed it’s terrible don’t use it to act cool please don’t bc you will lose all your money and many friends

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  3. Found this article while search Google for information about JUUL modifications and to be real, I’m sickened. You are not addicted to vaping, you are not addicted to “JUULing”, you are addicted to the nicotine (which actually is not as addictive as it’s made out to be and interestingly it has many positive effects in vivo).

    Please stop this trend of blaming the companies that make and market to a specific group of people. This is meant to be sold to people of legal smoking age and is meant for help quitting cigarettes. It’s incredibly “cig-a-like” in the fact that it mimics a drag from a cigarette and the throat hit. You should be blaming the ones who sell these to underage kids or the ones buying them for them.

    Slandering the name of the company is not a good response and will increase the likelihood of having the company reprimanded by the FDA.

    You are only as strong as your mind. If you think that you’re addicted, then you will be addicted. Addiction is NOT a disease or disability, stop blaming something that isn’t real.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t understand WHERE the “desperation” comes from within the above remarks. Have you ever heard your friends who smoke cigarettes react this way? (… losing it because they didn’t know where their net hit was coming from, suffering withdrawal, etc.?) It’s silly. I’m an adult that’s referred to as “a heavy smoker,” usually smoking about 2 packs a day, of which MANY burn away in the ashtray. Still, ONE JUUL pod lasts me about TWO+ days, possibly because I don’t light up, put the cigarette down, and come back to it when it’s a line of ash… and only “smoke” the JUUL deliberately – it conveniently sits in my computer’s USB drive (in the charger).

    It IS an excellent way to quite smoking cigarettes (personally, I wanted to get away from the SMELL, the stigma, and the problem of not being able to smoke ANYWHERE anymore). The great thing about JUUL, aside from its discreet size and lack of odor, is the deliberateness with which one smokes it, unlike cigarettes which one tends to smoke until one’s finished the whole thing; whereas, with the JUUL, I take a drag and might not take a second or third for ten minutes or an hour later.

    Still, I would NEVER recommend that anyone START smoking anything, given its potential for addiction. When I was a teenager (many years ago), I had NO IDEA that the occasional drags I was taking from my boyfriend’s cigarette would increase in frequency until I found myself smoking whole cigarettes… and by the end of that summer I was buying packs! I found myself “a smoker” without ever intending to be one. And, although there are no ill effects if I run out (which I make sure almost never happens), it’s a serious DRAG to have the NEED for something on your mind at all times while feeling that you can’t “enjoy” ANYTHING because you’re so accustomed to doing EVERYTHING WITH that cigarette.

    So… unless you’re ready to make a 35 or 45-year COMMITMENT (in other words, SLAVERY) to an eternal stimulus that you most likely won’t ever be able to give up… DON’T GO THERE… it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

    p.s. You can’t draw as heavily on a JUUL as on cigarettes (NOT NEARLY as heavily); that’s why they burn the throat so much. And, given even the slight burn I’ve experienced a few times, I would be surprised if people didn’t start having all sorts of throat problems… especially those who don’t realize that smoking this needs to be curtailed and treated as a NEW experience, modified, until you’ve in essence “customized” the experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am only commenting here, so that I can hopefully talk someone out of trying, or ,even continuing to use a JUUL. One, you are not quitting smoking, if you are still smoking anything. Inhaling chemicals, nicotine, metals, carcinogens (cigarettes), etc… into your lungs, no matter what device you are using, is not good for you; and IT IS STILL smoking! Quitting smoking is hard! I’m 7+ years free, myself. If you’re going to quit, then really quit; don’t just use a substitute.

    The long-term affects from a JUUL are not known, but it doesn’t really matter. Why? Because we DO KNOW that the nicotine, lead, and the other chemicals that are in the JUUL cartridges are bad. Therefore, one can come to a reasonable conclusion that the long-term affects are not going to be good.

    In the short term, I have watched a happy teenager who was never in trouble turn into a child that I do not even know. Stealing to get money for the pods, selling items to get money for the pods, lying to find ways to get out of the house in order to get the pods, rage and irritability when access is limited, and much more. Genetics and medical FACTS (not opinion) prove that addiction can be passed genetically, and that it alters brain activity and physiological responses throughout the human body. Those genetic and medical responses make it nearly impossible to quit, ONCE you reach that level of addiction. The best way to never get to that level is to, NEVER START! PLEASE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This article is full of crap. I smoked for 23 years and the only device to help me truly quit was a juul. Kids are going to be kids. Why do you think the statistics are that the use of real regular cigarettes is way down. One way or another kids will try stupid stuff in the name of being cool whether it be ecigs, real cigs, etc. Raise the age to buy both to 21 so the 18 year old seniors can’t buy them for everyone so easily.

    Liked by 1 person

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