Juul or Not to Juul

Micah Streeter, Editor-In-Chief, The Rocket Press

Not too long ago, it was typical in high school for kids to be out in the courtyard smoking cigarettes during passing period or lunch. Indeed many adults no doubt remember this time and perhaps they look back on it with no small amount of amusement now.


“We were young and foolish,” they might say now. “We didn’t know the consequences because nobody did!”


Well that’s not entirely true. Dating back to the early years of the cigarette industry medical experts warned of its potential harm. But back then, who cared? People smoked cigarettes like they were eating tootsie rolls. They blissfully ignored any word of danger from adults who most certainly knew better.


Then several years and several hundreds of cases of lung cancer later, people started thinking twice about inhaling tar and smoke into their bodies. Today the number of smokers goes down each year. The remaining smokers have no fallback on ignorance. The dangers of smoking are now about as widely known as the location of the sun (which I think is up…).


So you’ve probably figured out the question at the center of this editorial: Are we seeing history repeat itself with the advent of juuling? For some (older people) it’s an astounding yes, and for some (younger people) it’s an astounding no. There are many sides to this argument. Objectivity is seldom found in op-ed journalism, but in this case I think it’s beneficial.


On one hand, it’s clear that this is in fact a case of history doing what it does best. The parallels between the rise of cigarettes and the rise of juuling are abundant. Both are extremely popular, particularly among young people. And both carry with them a shadow of doubt cast by numerous medical professionals who warn of consequences stemming from the monolithic chemicals found in these recreational nicotine inhalers.


There are facts throughout this issue that point to the conclusion that juuling is inherently unhealthy. The fact that it’s most popular with younger people is further concerning because the human body isn’t fully developed until around age 26, and with the last part to fully mature being the brain, juuling accordingly would have its worst affect on younger people. There’s a reason why programs like D.A.R.E. make painstaking attempts to implant anti-drug messages in our minds from a very young age, instead of leaving us to explore the effects of these substances our young bodies ourselves.


On the other side, there is a school of thought that highlights juuling’s little amount of health risk when contrasted with the direct sucking in of tar that is cigarette smoking. Juuling comes with an unforeseen previously unheard of sense of privacy – it has no odor, and is as small (and in some cases even smaller) than a flash drive. Through the advent of juuling, it has never been easier for a smoker to keep their addiction to themselves.

Young people who juul consciously do so in direct stead of smoking cigarettes. As I said, we are a part of the D.A.R.E generation. We know the effects of all the classic drugs. We know what we’re doing to ourselves if we choose to use these drugs. Therefore, if someone is already going to smoke something, one can follow a perceivably logical thought pattern towards choosing to pick up a juul. Again, that’s only if you choose to be a smoker.


So we’ve established both sides of this argument. What do I think? Well there are many medical experts who say juuling leads to health risks that should be taken very seriously, but there are others who say the connection is much less direct than non-smokers perceive it to be. What’s important to note here is that both sides firmly place juuling on the bottom of the danger scale as far as smoking products go.


Does that mean people should be allowed to smoke it? Some say yes and some say no. I think, above a certain age, it is, for better or for worse, a right that people should have. But the medical consequences need to be hashed out and made very clear. Even now as their health risks are becoming more widely known, they are also becoming widely disputed. While it is depressing to see such a mass of people deny empirical truth (ex: Climate Change), in this case, you can see where it comes from. Juuling is important to many people, again for better or for worse. It’s helped people overcome their (95% more dangerous) cigarette addictions. It’s a great way to get rid of the awful smell of cigarette smoke in our society.


Regardless of your personal opinion, juuling represents the future of the smoke production industry. There are things to argue about here, but I think it’s good to keep in mind just how much of an improvement health-wise juuling is over cigarette smoking. That is not to downplay the health-risks of juuling, which are quite real.


I do think there is a deeper social phenomenon happening in their popularity with young people. Whenever someone decides to consume something that can have harmful effects, not of their own volition, but out of pressure to prove themselves as edgy enough for their friends, there’s something wrong. It’s a scientific fact that young people’s minds are still developing. There’s a reason why the government put age restrictions on things like marriage, alcohol, cigarettes – and yes, vapes. Their strict prohibition in schools is not to be challenged. If you’re below 18, you legally speaking should not smoke anything anywhere – especially school.


These laws, whether you agree with them or not, are based on undeniably logical and health-based reasoning. Past a certain point, it becomes an individual issue. You have to make a decision. And if you make that decision for yourself, with the facts in mind, and not based on other people’s influence, then that’s your decision. You have my respect.