By Conway Lynch
Juuls: the little nicotine vaporizer that’s taken the world by storm. These faux cigarettes are everywhere on campus, outside and inside of class. At first glance, they seem harmless, but they’ve reinvigorated the teenage nicotine addiction that America had almost completely snuffed out. But really the bigger problem here is that Juuls and their users are appropriating smoker culture—my culture.
I’ve been smoking cigarettes for far too long – definitely since before it was socially acceptable. I’m not proud of that by any means, but with eight years in my lungs, I think I have a solid sense of the culture. I’ve compiled a short list of the offenses Juul users are making against smokers.
Smoking is, for many smokers, an escape.
We can take a smoke break from work, class, movies, family dinner, another smoke break, etc. While this is great, it also leads to some sour looks from those around us. People think smokers have special rights, they think they deserve a break from work too, but I argue that smokers are sacrificing their lives for a little ten-minute break. We are contracting lung cancer with every puff, what are you doing to warrant a moment of relaxation?
Juulers don’t pay the taxes smokers do.
Juuls cost $35 and Juulpods, the little cartridges that actually contain the nicotine, cost only $4. Juulpods contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, but cigarettes cost roughly $8 a pack. Sounds like a rip-off to me, a cultural rip-off. Sure, the tax on cigarettes is supposed to levy the cost of health insurance covering smoking afflictions, but if Juulers are going to walk the walk and vape the nic then they should have empty wallets too.
I don’t see any delegated Juuling areas.
Smokers are treated like second-class citizens, cast out into exile: pariahs. Meanwhile, Juulers are blowing their mango-flavored “clouds” all over the place polluting everyone’s fresh air. Whatever happened to good old second-hand smoke? These Juulers are straight up taking “smoke breaks” wherever and whenever they please with seemingly no consequences other than washed-up stoners begging them for a hit. Just come sit in the smoking area and feel the pain of cultural expulsion with me.
Juuls strip away the best thing about smoking: cool factor.
Smoking used to be edgy and cool. It’s the only thing that sets me apart from everyone else. Without cigarettes, what am I? Nothing, that’s what. Cigarettes are the only thing that makes me even the least bit interesting. Think about some of the coolest actors in Hollywood: John Travolta in “Grease,” Sarah Paulson in literally every role she’s had, Leonardo DiCaprio in “Blood Diamond” and Judd Nelson in “The Breakfast Club.” Smoking is the sole reason these actors looked so cool in their roles. Imagine them with Juuls instead–oof.
Juuling isn’t as social as smoking.
Sure, Juul users probably pass their glorified USBs around and talk about how the piña colada pods make them feel like they’re soaking up the Puerto Rican sun, but that’s nothing compared to the years and years of smokers hanging out in front of classrooms and concerts complaining to each other. Almost all smokers are friends who just have been introduced, and as soon as you introduce a cigarette, there is guaranteed conversation. Juuls don’t have that power, and it’s more than just a small battery.