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Pass the Juul

By Jacob Hughes
On October 4, 2018

It is fair to assume that most Plymouth State students know what a Juul is. For those that don’t, Juul’s website states their product is an e-cig used for “improving the lives of the one billion adult smokers”. James Monsees and Adam Bowen co-founded Juul, intending to give smokers of the world a healthier alternative to cigarettes. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Sure, Juul’s are used by smokers to quit smoking, but to teenagers, the Juul is a tool to get high. 

“First, I wanted to try out the fad, then it turned into an addiction,” Samuel May, a current PSU student, said, “and because of that fad where everyone was doing it, and everyone feels like they need to do what others do, I felt like I needed to.”

Why did Sam feel the need to start vaping in the first place? When asked if he had ever vaped before then, he said no. Was it just a result of peer pressure, or was it because Juul was marketing to teenagers? It could be both. 

Back in 2015, Pax Labs, the previous parent company of Juul, needed to market its creation. They decided to market their product with young models following some of the current clothing and music fads. Masked within the sleek video was their invention, the Juul, in the hands of all the young and trendy models. A former senior manager for Juul said the video wasn’t intended to captivate the young, teenage audience, but claimed that he and the other managers were well aware that it could. 

At the time, Pax Labs was also trying to get the word “Juul” to catch on as the action verb “to Juul”, and even changed the names of their articulate pod flavors to simplistic, yet catchy names. Eventually, it all caught on with teenagers, and every week we are exposed to it. 

Students began posting Snapchat stories of themselves at parties, having fun, hitting Juuls, and dancing to the new hit songs. Walking around campus, students could be seen vaping everywhere. And with Juul advertisements lining convenience store windows, it is all right there in front of us.

This fad has become a major concern for the Food and Drug Administration, who began a crusade against the vaping company, under the grounds that Juul marketed its product to the youth. “[There] is an epidemic of e-cigarette use among teenagers,” said Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA. The FDA claims that vape use and nicotine addiction among teenagers has risen during the time Juul has been around, because they are marketing to under-age youth. 

In an effort to combat Juul and nicotine addiction amongst teens, the FDA issued an ultimatum against Juul. They gave Juul sixty days to prove that they will keep their products away from the youth, or else penalties may occur.

The FDA may not have wanted to wait those sixty days however, because last Friday they raided Juul’s San Francisco offices. In an official statement, the FDA said, “The purpose of these inspections was to determine compliance with all applicable FDA laws and regulatory requirements.”

What does this crusade against vaping mean for PSU students with crippling nicotine addictions? Well it means terrible withdrawals for about a week, healthier lungs again, and less risk of cancer. Despite the withdrawals, it doesn’t sound all that bad. At the end of the day, Juuling (and vaping) will be remembered as that weird time in history where we thought vaping was actually cool; kind of like how people thought mullets were cool at one point. These next few months could be the downfall of vaping in its entirety. 

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