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Vape Nation: The Impact Of Juuling On Teenage Society

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A small rectangular box you can smoke that doesn’t produce the nasty smell or the taste of smoke? Juuling is the most recent trend to join the “Vape Nation” and has caused an uproar among the parents of many teens. Juuling is a new form of e-cigarette much like the very popular vape pens to which heated liquid is inhaled through a vapor like substance. The big success Juuls had with teens in the variety of pod flavors that can be sold separately enticed them.

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The JUUL company was founded in 2017 after creating the Juul itself back in 2007 when still apart of PAX Labs. The Juul has many similarities to that of a normal cigarette to which nicotine or similar toxic substances can still be inhaled (nicotine is optional but certain toxicants cannot be avoided). Celebrities use of these Vaporized cigarettes can be seen in various movies and even through their personal lives. Actors/Comedians like Johnny Deep in The Tourist and Dave Chapelle in his Netflix standup can be seen Juuling to advertise these devices in hopes the product will sell. Juuling is the most recent smoking fad that is being used for the aesthetics rather than fixing the problem of smoking. The Message JUUL provides for its’ product is, “Improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers”. The idea of smoking itself pervades our culture in the sense of it calming your nerves and lowering anxiety. The article, How Vaping Culture is Contextualised on Social Media explains how unimportant teens smoking is to big companies or the government, “neither age restrictions no warnings can stop teens under 18 from following the current trend”. By not enforcing stricter protocol for your product is clearly shows they aren’t really concerned with who is using their product. This is not a good look for the company because it allows them to work the grey area by marketing these products with its’ design and variety of flavors including mango, mint and even cucumber. Even with the discontinuing of flavors that taste of candy or are advertised with cartoons doesn’t prevent teens from purchasing the product (the flavors still appeal to adolescent even without a less descriptive name). They believe that, “these alternatives are not appropriate for people who do not already smoke” and completely agree with it because these were made as alternatives to people addicted to smoking.

Next the sleek and simplistic design of these Juuls is the first reason why they are so popular among teens. The JUUL company is trying to differentiate it from it vape pen counterpart to give the product more traction in the market. Students of a continuation High School in Northen California stated, “It looks like a USB drive. It doesn’t look suspicious”. Unlike its’ counterpart “Vape” it uses flavored pods instead of refilling it with liquid juice to smoke a vape pen. Although the Juul itself was intended to help those with smoking addiction, many teens have seen it as an inconspicuous way to look cool. It influences the views of many to thinking it’s a relatively safe way to get the same “buzz” from normal cigarettes or marijuana without the risk of forming cancer. Up until the year 2016 the FDA didn’t even regulate the various chemicals and ingredients used within the Juul pods. Through the FDA’s investigation little evidence was found that Juuls helped adult smokers quit. Also smoking in general has always been for the social aspect rather than the appeal of the product because throughout generations society has portrayed those who smoke as more mature or even cool.

A perfect way to describe Juuling was said by a student of the University of Tulane, “Obviously, juuling is huge while going out, but I try to hide mine because if you whip it out in public it’s like having a new pack of gum in high school; everyone tries to use it as soon as they see it”. The consequence of accepting this view is you may seem appealing at the time, but it will lead to poor decisions in the future. Another problem involved with accepting this culture is stated by various Scientist and Public Officials, “desperate struggling smokers who choose it as an alternative to smoking, most teenagers choose it as a lifestyle”. Juuling had primarily gain fame through societal use of social media involving the vape pen dating back to 2015. Amos Barshad article, The Juul Is Too Cool explains the modern age version of cigarettes, “It took oodles of efficient pop-culture manipulation for America to accept cigarettes as the ultimate symbol of rebellious cool,” but now things like Juuling have manipulated teens through posting on social media. The “Vape” was widely popular among teens because of the variety of tricks they could pull off with vapor clouds. They even held “Vaping Competition” to which we would see who could puff out the biggest and most creative cloud of vapor. Through the “meme culture” of modern social media “Vape Nation” was created by popular YouTube channel, h3h3Productions. Ethan Klein and his wife run the channel and through their various videos on “Vape Nation” have influenced the views of millions in a comical way (through social interaction with random individuals).

The most interesting thing about products like Juuls is that most of the marketing is done through social media by the ordinary consumer. Austin Lawrence is a notable person representing his very own vape brand by performing various tricks on his Instagram page to his 2. 2 million followers. Another popular area to find people Juuling in a variety of places is the social media page of Barstool Sports to which teens can be seen using these devices in their homes to even school. Traditional smoking in teens had dropped 6% in 2017 and was citied from a Citigroup report, “it’s impossible to say what has caused the change for sure but the most obvious case is Juul”. These cool tricks and tasty flavors directly influence the minds of teens. They aren’t even being directly targeted but these companies make great use of the “gray” area (legal but not the intended audience for the product). Since Juuling is so popular among Millennials, older generations may not understand how bad it is for them. Juuls have been so influential on the teens of society that it can be referred to as a verb, Juuling rather than Juul the product.

I think in the eyes of the youth Juuls are considered a revolutionary innovation to smoking that is way less harmful than the average cigarette. If you are an adult, you might find it idiotic because many social media interactions can be found that show how reckless someone might be to get a few likes and retweets. “When things are trendy it can become contagious,” was stated by Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer Society and explains we need to do more than make tobacco seem less appealing to teens. The common use of smoking THC with Juuls has increased their popularity because it allows it to be smoked without the stench of marijuana. Finally, Juuling shows that popular culture among teens is nothing but a bunch of clout chasers who follow various trends/fads to gain something. Smoking in general throughout generations of pop culture has seen as rebellious to social norms. Humans have always been followers and ever since birth we are told to behave a certain way. We often change our views pertaining topic to follow the social norm and Juuling is becoming that and many do so they are not left behind (socially). Culture is always changing and Juuling is just the most recent fad that people have joined to feel a part of something.

18 March 2020

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