Girls and boys, ladies and gentlemen, students and faculty, there is a serious and life threatening epidemic happening on our college campus – a phenomenon commonly known as juuling. The e-cigarette, who’s original purpose was to help cigarette smokers kick the habit, is now a new addiction in itself. A Juul kit can easily be purchased for $49.99 on the company’s website. This includes the rechargeable body, a USB charger and a four-pack of Juul pods whose power is said to equal a whole pack of cigarettes and whose contents can easily be interchanged for CBD (cannabis) oils.
I’m all for people doing their own thing, but when the smell of cotton candy smoke floods my nose and lungs on the way to class, that’s where I draw the line. Breaking the College of Charleston’s not-so strict Tobacco-Free Campus Policy, which includes all forms of tobacco, dip and e-cigarettes. Juuls are essentially the electric version of a regular old cigarette without the lung collapsing tobacco in a modern, sleek flash drive looking style. Although I understand the benefits of vaping, there is a difference between helping your body free from its nicotine addiction and forcefully jumping into a sea of addiction that 50 million people drown in. Addiction is not a word used lightly. Psychology Today reports that, “Repeated exposure to nicotine results in the development of tolerance, the condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same initial effect.” Dr. Richard Hurt from the Mayo Clinic says that “after inhaling a cigarette [or e-cigarette], nicotine reaches your brain in less than 5 heart beats. Thats faster than having it injected into your veins.”
An American Diabetes Association study showed that chronic nicotine exposure can cause insulin resistance which causes type 2 diabetes. Also, the flavoring incorporated in the juul pods contain a chemical called diacetyl that is directly linked to a rare lung disease. E-cigarettes can increase dependency in addictive other than nicotine, cause decrease in development to the brain and increase heart rate and blood pressure. As opposed to popular social media posts, the device is still just as addictive as an actual cigarette.
Bystanders are obviously not in danger of secondhand smoke with juuls since it is water vapor, yet this does not make it okay to vape anywhere. I was once at dinner with some friends and someone started juuling at the dinner table. This is not the early 1900’s when smoking was permitted anywhere. Students have also been juuling in class. Allow me to let you in on a secret my juuling classmate: the puffs of smoke are visible.
It’s ironic that the device made to lean smokers off of an addiction is becoming a new addiction in itself. And the truth is, there aren’t many alternatives to e-cigarettes. Some studies say that other stress relieving activities can help resist the urge to smoke. These activities may include things such as yoga, aromatherapy and sports.
Juuling is not just another “bad habit”, its a physical addiction and more needs to be done to try and help our students ends this fad. If you are going to smoke, please go do it in the “smokers square” on the corner of Calhoun and St. Phillips. E-cigs are not regulated by the United States, however, this may change in the next decade.