The curious case of the Juul

JUUL vapor alternatives (pictured here) allow an alternative for nicotine users on the go.

Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson

JUUL vapor alternatives (pictured here) allow an alternative for nicotine users on the go.

Bilal Suleiman, Coulmnist

We’re almost a third of the way through 2018 and this year has already been pretty wild. The Fortnite craze has swept the nation unlike any other game before. It’s not uncommon to check the news and discover that another tragic school shooting has occurred, and Donald Trump is still almost causing global conflicts via tweets. However, one thing stands out to me more than most.

It’s called the Juul and it’s going to change the smoking alternative industry.

The Juul is the latest method to put nicotine in our bodies, following the previous e-cigarette and vape trends.

For those of you unfamiliar with Juul, it’s a slim and portable device that can be charged almost anywhere. Despite this convenience, what attracts people to Juul the most is their proprietary blend of nicotine salts, which resemble the draw of cigarette much more than any type of vape ever could. The ability to take extremely high doses of nicotine makes the Juul a disruptive technology that big tobacco companies should be very concerned about stealing their market share.

Resembling a USB drive, the Juul works by attaching a flavored pod of nicotine salts in the top. The mouthpiece is built into the top of the pod and all one has to do from this point on is inhale. Unlike the e-cig and vapes, there are no buttons or controls, making the Juul extremely easy to use. The flavors range from fruity to minty to traditional tobacco.

With this range of flavors, Juul manages to hit all their target markets, with mint and tobacco flavors for former smokers who want to quit cigarettes and fruity flavors to appease the younger, new smokers, many of whom are in high school. The Juul only leaves a slight vapor when exhaled, making it much easier to conceal indoor use, unlike a traditional vape which would not be able to be hidden at all.

The pod style design has already inspired many copycats who know that it is the way of the future. Each 4-pack of pods is between $15 – $18 a pack, making it slightly less expensive than smoking per pack of cigarettes. Many people who switch to the Juul don’t switch back. When you have all this convenience in one item, you pave the way for the next successor to take over the smoking industry.

The way Juul has taken over this past year is astounding. You can see them everywhere at parties, at the bars downtown or even just in class. Some put stickers or carve designs onto their e-cigarette in an effort to distinguish their own juul from others. It reminds me of the iPhone and the way it took over in such a short time after it was introduced. The iPhone is so easy to use yet customizable. This is what makes me think that Juul is here to stay. It’s simple design is so easy to use that soon one day, no one will smoke traditional cigarettes anymore, they’ll all smoke e-cigarettes like the Juul.

While it’s definitely helping people to quit smoking, the Juul is in fact more addictive than cigarettes ever were. You can hit the Juul anytime, anywhere and it’s concentrated levels of nicotine compel the user to reach for it again and again. Yes, it may be less harmful to vaporize nicotine than to inhale burning tobacco smoke. But inhaling anything other than air is bound to have some negative effects. I know it can’t be healthy to keep our brains constantly bathed in high levels of nicotine either.

Bilal Suleiman is a a columnist for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].