Alternative to cigarettes becoming increasingly popular


Michelle ShnayderCopy Editor

In recent years, a new alternative to cigarettes has flooded the market. Electronic cigarettes
have become the new frontier of the industry, and people are giving up their lighters in exchange for chargers and buttons. The Juul is the most popular of these electronic cigarette alternatives,

and as a product, it has grown in popularity at an unprecedented rate. In laments terms, people are going Juul crazy, and not everyone is happy about it.

This tiny, easy to loose, rectangular vape stands out among other electronic cigarette products. Having tried many smoking cessation products over the years, I can vouch for the Juul’s unique ability
to eradicate my desire to go outside and smoke a cigarette.

Juul sells their products direct to consumers online; they also sell their products at various retailers, including gas stations and vape stores. The Juul differs from many other vapes, because the pods are disposable and self- contained.

According to the company’s website,
“Juul delivers nicotine satisfaction akin to a cigarette in a format that’s as simple and easy to use.”

A Juul “starter kit” can be ordered online for $49.99. According to the disclaimer on the company’s website, Juul products are not intended for sale to minors. When entering the site, all consumers are immediately directed to a page that asks them if they are 21.

“We are committed to deterring young people, as well as adults who do not currently smoke, from using our products,” said the CEO of Juul Kevin Burns. “We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try (Juul).”

Using Juuls has become so popular among adolescents and young adults, that this product has become the current controversial equivalent
of cigarettes. In response
to underage vapping, the FDA is cracking down on Juul and other corporations that create and market electronic cigarettes.

“Youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached
an epidemic proportion,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in a 2017 press release. “More than two million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2017 alone.”

Recently, Juul and other vape retailers were given 60 days to prove that their products are not intended for minors. The FDA issued a statement saying that if the companies do not comply, their products could be pulled from store shelves.

Parallel with the scrutiny that vape products are receiving from the government, Southern is continuing to fight smoking by enforcing no smoking rules throughout the campus.

According to Southern’s website, “Smoking and tobacco use are prohibited in all facilities and areas of the Southern Connecticut State University campus with no exception.”

The website highlights that the ban encompasses all types of electronic cigarettes, including Juuls.

As a habitual smoker, fluctuating between being a loyal Juul user and a self- hating Marlboro addict, Southern’s anti-smoking policies irritate me on the daily basis. On the other hand, I have noticed myself cutting down on both cigarettes and Juul pods.

This dichotomy between my annoyance and my practical knowledge that the ban is improving my health is a microcosm of the entire debate. As humans, we are notorious for self-inflicted ailments; we do things knowing that they are bad for us, well aware that we could live without them. However, we continue to use a Juul, at least I do.

I am in limbo, stuck between gratitude and feeling grated that the FDA and Southern are both fighting my hedonistic instincts to smoke myself into a stupor.

Both sides of the debate are viable, because there is no valid argument claiming that nicotine is healthy. The questions then becomes, should we have the right to self-injure in peace, or is
it up to larger institutions to stop us from hurting ourselves?
I believe that all smokers who are of legal age should be allowed to do as they please, breathing in toxins while preserving their autonomy. However, there are federal institutions that are striving to protect us from ourselves, and that is as comforting as it is eerie.

Photo Credit: Palmer Piana

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