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The Hillsdale Anti Juul Coalition on facebook seeks to start the dis­cussion on juul use through humorous content. Hillsdale Anti Juul Coalition | Courtesy

“Hitting the Juul” has become a common phrase as high schoolers and college stu­dents increas­ingly turn to Juul as a “cool” form of e-smoking.

Juul is a brand of e-cig­a­rettes that delivers an aerosol mix of chem­icals, nicotine, and fla­voring to the user, according to the American Cancer Society. One Juul can contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of cig­a­rettes.

Senior Haley Hauprich has set out to crit­icize that, opening a Facebook page against using Juul products.

“It’s gotten very popular with college stu­dents espe­cially,” Hauprich said. “It’s a very big pop culture thing.”

She was inspired to begin the page after seeing her friends using Juul.

“I thought, ‘This is so dumb. Why are people doing this?’” Hauprich said.

The Facebook page, called Anti-Juul Coalition, is mostly devoted to memes and is not par­tic­u­larly serious.

While Hauprich said she’s not trying to start a cam­paign, she would like to see people’s opinion about juuling change.

“I would love to see people not using it,” she said. “Getting a nicotine addiction just for the sake of being cool is not a very good idea.”

Senior Mark Compton, another leader of the Anti-Juul Coalition, said that he believes that Juul is good when used for the purpose it was created for.

“I don’t dislike Juul,” he said. “I think that if you’re trying to quit smoking, they’re fan­tastic. I don’t think that you should buy one if you don’t smoke, because I’ve seen a lot of people that didn’t have a nicotine addiction develop one from a Juul.”

Senior James Burke, a Juul user, said that he turned to Juul because it was a healthier alter­native to cig­a­rettes.

“When I got to campus as a freshman, I was a social smoker for a little bit,” he said. “Then I realized quickly that that wasn’t healthy for me. A lot of tobacco products tend to be expensive, so I wanted some­thing that I could use more fre­quently, that wasn’t as phys­i­cally dan­gerous, didn’t make me smell bad, didn’t make the other people around me feel uncom­fortable, and that was more cost effective.”

The answer, for Burke, was found in Juul, which he said is cheaper and healthier than cig­a­rettes. Juul, Burke explained, costs only around $4 a pod, which is equiv­alent to a $10-$12 pack of cig­a­rettes. In addition, he has read many of the recent studies on Juul that have come out over the past few years.

“The general con­sensus is that it is healthier for you than other tobacco products,” he said.

Addiction has not proved to be a problem for him, he said.

“I don’t really use it when I go home on breaks, and I haven’t had any with­drawal symptoms or cravings for it, so I think that addiction is really a more per­sonal thing. Some people struggle with addiction more or less than others,” he said.  

When asked if he was con­cerned that Juul would be used by teenagers who have not smoked, cre­ating nicotine addic­tions, he replied in the neg­ative. To Burke, the teenagers that use Juul are the same ones that would try cig­a­rettes. The teenagers who try Juul are those who would try any­thing that was frowned upon, including cig­a­rettes if Juul was not available.

“If you look at, over the past five decades, high schoolers have been smoking cig­a­rettes, like they always have been,” he said. “It’s one of those things that’s going to happen, and it’s not a good thing, but that’s the reality of it that young people are going to try those things. I don’t think it really changes much.”

Zul­fiqar Mannan, reporting in Yale Daily News, Yale University’s campus news­paper, described the ways in which Juul has impacted Yale’s campus. She told the story of a friend:

“I started [Juuling] when I started going out and people would have cig­a­rettes and I’d be like, oh, I really enjoy the nicotine but I don’t want to get into smoking cig­a­rettes,” Jazzie nar­rates now.

She thought it would be a “fun thing to try.” Fun, that is, until she realized her addiction.

Today, Jazzie vehe­mently “does not rec­ommend the Juul to anyone.”

But, is Juul actually bad for you? In a 2016 report about e-cig­a­rette use, Thomas R. Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Pre­vention said, “Tobacco use among youth and young adults in any form, including e-cig­a­rettes, is not safe.” He con­tinues, “Nicotine exposure can also harm brain devel­opment in ways that may affect the health and mental health of our kids.”

In an interview pub­lished online, Cliff Dou­glass, Vice Pres­ident for Tobacco Control of the American Cancer Society, added that this also applies to college stu­dents.

“The brain is still devel­oping well into the mid-20s and even beyond, so health con­cerns apply not only to teens but also to college-age users,” he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Ser­vices, these health con­cerns include dis­ruption of “the growth of brain cir­cuits that control attention, learning, and sus­cep­ti­bility to addiction,” and they “can include lower impulse control and mood dis­orders.”

The report, released by the United States Surgeon General in 2016, also expressed con­cerns that e-cig­a­rette use would lead to further problems.

“Research has found that youth who use a tobacco product, such as e-cig­a­rettes, are more likely to go on to use other tobacco products like cig­a­rettes,” it stated. “The nicotine in e-cig­a­rettes … can prime young brains for addiction to other drugs, such as cocaine and metham­phet­amine.”

These con­cerns led the Food and Drug Admin­is­tration to retaliate. According to The New York Times, on Sept. 28 2018, they “con­ducted a sur­prise inspection” of Juul’s head­quarters. They seized approx­i­mately a thousand doc­u­ments, which are in addition to the 50,000 pages of doc­u­ments handed over to the FDA earlier in the year by Juul.

In a USA Today report, FDA Com­mis­sioner Scott Got­tlieb said “the agency will halt sales of fla­vored elec­tronic cig­a­rettes if the major man­u­fac­turers can’t prove they are doing enough to keep them out of the hands of children and teens.”

However, Juul is working with the FDA. In a statement reported by USA Today, Vic­toria Davis, a spokes­woman for Juul, said, “We are focused on engaging with FDA, law­makers, reg­u­lators, public health offi­cials, and advo­cates to drive awareness of our mission to improve the lives of the world’s one billion smokers and to combat underage use so we keep Juul out of the hands of young people.

In fact, vis­itors to Juul’s website will be asked whether they are 21 or older and willing to verify. If they answer in the neg­ative, they will be redi­rected to the NIH Smoke­FreeTeen website. Juul’s website only sells products to those who are over 21 years of age.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    As freedom loving indi­viduals I would think that the Hillsdale paper would do more to find out the facts about Juul. Here is one from a well-trusted, con­ser­v­ative news source:

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/corruption-public-health-15323.html

    Juul is 95% safer than cig­a­rettes. Tobacco is not inher­ently harmful, neither is nicotine. In fact, nicotine has many ben­efits. The addi­tives in cig­a­rettes are the cancer causing agents. These are not present in E-liquids. E-cigs are the most suc­cessful stop-smoking devices ever devised.

    This article is one of the clearest signals I have ever seen that hillsdale has become the baptist end of the baptist/bootlegger groups fighting e-liquids in the market.

    • BradinAZ

      Actually in this case one could argue that Hillsdale is actually getting back to its Freewill Baptist roots, as most of its founders were involved in the Tem­perance movement and would have been opposed to alcohol or tobacco use. Also, its disin­genuous to claim that E-cigs are less harmful than cig­a­rettes because they have not been around long enough to know the long term effects they cause but there is cer­tainly a lot of anec­dotal evi­dence that they cause health problems in users.

      • Jen­nifer Melfi

        Your comment is a clear indi­cation of the harms that occur under a theo­cratic worldview re after than a scientific/rational/pragmatic one.

        https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review&ved=2ahUKEwinhdK3hN7eAhWFuVMKHXjlDrgQFjAAegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw3YnhRWYcSBKigXpzoGj1Ed

        They are safer. They dont contain the chem­icals that cause the long term harms. We have loads of expe­rience with the effects of inhaling nicotine and the other2 remaining mate­rials.

        As to your first assertion… I’ve made this argument else­where in this paper — the DNA of the college is not destiny, they/we can make it be what we want it to be. The recent history (1950 – 2003) of the college was pretty cool and some­thing worth emu­lating. One is just as, if not more, viable than the other. Let’s support that best version of the college, not a group sup­porting fascist theocracy

        • BradinAZ

          Sorry, but you can’t create vapor without either using propylene glycol or veg­etable oil and there are no long-term studies on the effects of inhaling those sub­stances. So rather than calling it “fascist theocracy” which does not at all describe the his­toric Tem­perance movement that I ref­er­enced, lets just agree that the science is not settled and thus your claims that vaping is safer than cig­a­rettes are a hypothesis that is not yet proven or dis­proven.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            wrong again. The summary articles you are reading clearly aren’t informing you of the high level science that has been per­formed at mul­tiple points on the product — here is a good summary with lots of links to the studies.

            https://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/ashtray-blog/2016/02/propylene-glycol-e-cigarettes.html

            Once you under­stand what propylene glycol is, you will see that we interact with it all of the time with no real observable effects. This product is infi­nitely safer than smoking cig­a­rettes — but hey. I’m just a freedom loving fan of the real Hillsdale College, not the one that seeks to impose a theocracy banning any­thing that could con­ceivably cause harm or avoiding the “appearance” of evil getting rid of some­thing that looks like (gasp) smoking!

          • BradinAZ

            Oh look, an industry-spon­sored study. I guess not everyone has learned their lessons from the cig­a­rette industry.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            the link is from the UK vaping group — but the links they post are from sci­en­tific journals:

            http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/91/1/52
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15828073/

            Please stop trying to use bad logic in attacking this and get on board the train of freedom, logic, and rational/pragmatic thought

          • BradinAZ

            At least you’ve stopped with your claim that vaping doesn’t include chem­icals which even your biased articles admit have not been tested longterm. If you want to be the human guinea pig, go for it but there’s nothing wrong with people sug­gesting that it be banned until results are known. Unfor­tu­nately vaping pro­po­nents are just as ridiculous as anti-vaxxers and pitbull fans. It’s not about freedom, it’s about health.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            I never said they don’t include chem­icals — check the tape:

            “They dont contain the chem­icals that cause the long term harms. We have loads of expe­rience with the effects of inhaling nicotine and the other2 remaining mate­rials.”

            But it is about freedom AND health

            For com­parison — cig­a­rettes contain at least 69 dif­ference chem­icals that are known to be harmful.

            The idea that a product should be “banned until results are known” is non­sense. A) we have a pretty good idea what the results are based on sci­en­tific doc­u­men­tation of real inter­ac­tions with these chem­icals B) your argument would also work against most pos­itive new drugs that are developed for health and medical reasons C) on the health and medical front, Vaping is very effective at ending smoking: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018 – 06-vaping-hardened-smokers.html

            The sor­riest thing about your words is how anti-freedom your phi­losophy is. Did you learn to be this way at Hillsdale? At a minimum, if some­thing has no known harms, it should be free for all to par­tic­ipate in. What you described is a form of fascism. I’m sorry you don’t like vaping, but that shouldn’t reduce the freedom that others have to pursue it. Don’t straw man me by com­paring this to anti-vaxx. That’s just stupid.

          • BradinAZ

            “The addi­tives in cig­a­rettes are the cancer causing agents. These are not present in E-liquids.”

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            this is a true statement. yes.

          • BradinAZ

            “They dont contain the chem­icals that cause the long term harms.”

            You’ve said it several places and my point is that there is not enough research to val­idate your claim.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            This is false. There are ingre­dients in cig­a­rettes that are known car­cinogens:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cigarette_smoke_carcinogens

            These are not present in vape products. the mate­rials that are present in vape products may not have long term studies to the effect of their vaping, but are gen­erally con­sidered to be safe due to their con­tinued use in con­sumer products and several studies of their impact in short term studies, where they were always found to have minimal impact.

            Your rea­soning is quite faulty. Were you actually a Hillsdale student?

          • BradinAZ

            I hope you don’t vape as the only reason to do so is if you are trying to wean yourself away from cig­a­rettes. Unfor­tu­nately that’s likely not the case for most Hillsdale stu­dents. However if you do, please don’t come crying someday in the future when it catches up with you and you develop popcorn lung, emphysema or some other ailment.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            @disqus_WDE8PmHHUc:disqus there are actually tons of reasons to vape, some better than others, but they are all valid, espe­cially when the current state of the science shows this to be pretty harmless overall.

            Lots of kids, myself included, smoked cig­a­rettes in college while drinking or hanging out with others who did. It was kind of cool, kind of fun, and some­thing that I could take or leave afterward. Wouldn’t you want those same exper­i­mental smokers to choose juul or vape rather than Winston Salem if the choice were available?

            I looked over your other com­ments in the col­legian, and I found that I almost always agree with your position. Not sure how you came to have this anti-freedom position, amidst all of your other good takes on what is going on at Hillsdale.

          • BradinAZ

            I smoked at Hillsdale as well, mostly in the Ethan Allen room or the snack bar, but as the dad of two boys who will be college stu­dents in just a few years, do I want them to have that option? Hell no! Espe­cially when we know that one vape session con­tains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cig­a­rettes and we don’t know what the other effects will be. Yes, smoking was once con­sidered cool, mostly because of adver­tising cam­paigns and guer­rilla mar­keting by big tobacco. And looking back, I don’t think smoking added any­thing to the fun I had at Hillsdale and it cer­tainly didn’t make me cool. So, yes, I’m fine with keeping the option away from those exper­i­mental smokers so they don’t get hooked for life.

          • BradinAZ

            And I should note that while my other com­ments come as a Hillsdale alum, my com­ments on this topic are from the per­spective of being a dad.

          • Jen­nifer Melfi

            well, that nicotiine 1 juul = pack of cig­a­rettes is mis­leading, because one pod is not a single use and takes a long time to vaporize that much fluid. It takes about a week to go through a pod