The Use of JUUL: What Students are Saying

This is what students have said about the use of JUUL products and related brands at Stuyvesant High School in the written portion of an anonymous survey.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

“JUUL has been absolutely dominant in the e-cigarette market, especially for teenagers. Something weird I've noticed is that if you are in a group of friends [who] do use e-cigarettes and you don't use JUUL, you are kind of an outsider.”

“Don't call us names for vaping, and don’t blame us for just being teenagers. And don't forget that us teenagers, not adults, are being targeted by vaping companies.”

“You get a head rush, feel a little dizzy, and then are able to focus really well and you feel a lot more relaxed. For me, it feels like I’m floating on the surface of life a little bit and I get really calm.”

“For people who have never done it, it makes [them] cough, hurts your throat, and tastes bad.

For people who are addicted, on the other hand, I commonly describe it as being in a desert for [two to three] days without any liquids or water, and you all of a sudden find a cold Gatorade and you can quench your thirst. That's what every breath of a JUUL feels like: pure satisfaction. And though I know that that description sounds very over the top, it is absolutely true.”

“JUUL is very reliable for stress relief and being able to study. That is why so many Stuy kids, as well as people in general, who try to quit eventually come back to it.”

“Quitting [JUULing] is not as difficult as you may think. It does not have the same craving effect as if you stopped smoking cigarettes. It [has] a much more bearable withdrawal. I do it because I’m bored. [I] spend a lot of time working, doing homework, and being stressed. Why not spend the little free time I have rewarding myself with a [JUUL] hit to relieve stress?”

“JUULs are a disgusting thing. They smell [terrible], taste [terrible], and are very addictive. I used to do it on occasion, and at one point, daily, but I quit. Now, I feel a lot healthier; I’ve escaped the nausea and the dizziness one gets from JUULing. Now the smell does nothing but irritate me.”

“I honestly think vaping is getting a bad name for little reason. Experimentation with drugs isn't new, but suddenly there's a huge case against [JUULing]? As an outsider looking in, I just don't get it.”

“Many radio advertisements portray JUUL use as something exclusively for adults quitting smoking, explicitly stating that teens should not begin using a product containing nicotine, but a huge company must know exactly what they are doing in terms of generating huge profits selling to teens.”

“[I have never picked up a JUUL pod because] I worry about being addicted and losing my sense of self. Addiction would also lead to an upheaval of my priorities, and I want to focus more on my academic performance.”

“I've seen the change in people once they start JUULing. The people I know or I've heard of [who] JUUL end up trying other drugs as well and I do not want to end up as lost as them. Also, I know someone [who] has tried to stop JUULing but it was very difficult, and when they stopped, they realized how terrible their life was just because of JUUL.”

“I’d rather flex that I’m not addicted to sucking on a USB.”

“Personally, as a member of [a] relatively prestigious club, I do not want my image, nor the image of any of my friends [or] teammates to be affected in the off chance I get caught vaping. As a result of this, I vehemently refuse to pick up a JUUL pod or any other drug for that matter.”

“The idea of my body relying on a substance, a drug, is scary and horrifying. The fact that my entire body can change, my mentality, etc. scares the shit out of me—and it should scare the shit out of everyone. It grosses me out when I see dropped [JUUL] pods on the stairs or when my friend takes it out to vape.”

“Seeing addicted people scare me, and my dad smokes. I've seen addiction and don't want any part of it.”

“While I was addicted I sold pods to other people to afford my own.”

“I hit up every [7-Eleven] in a [two-mile] radius over the course of two nights until someone sold it to me without ID.”

“Many students at Stuy provide reliable service of JUUL products at low prices, ever since it has been harder to buy JUUL products in stores.”

“It really starts with peer pressure and maybe some curiosity of your own. Furthermore, taking drugs at this point in your life seems to be normalized by movies, YouTube, and other media platforms; you can't live life if you have never been ‘hit.’”

“A lot of users don't know how to get help without getting into really big trouble.”

“I think the rise of vaping is quite sad especially because we have almost eliminated smoking within our generation. Ask any of us [three] years ago and most people would've called smoking gross and [said] that they'd never do it. Now, JUUL has made vaping into an Apple product. The LED light on the JUUL shines rainbow colours if you shake it after you take a hit. That is so obviously targeted [toward] a younger audience. PAX Labs, which owns JUUL, is backed by major tobacco companies. The same people getting rich off of our parents’ addictions are enslaving our generation and [it’s] extremely disturbing. I have seen kids go from a casual user to being unable to sit through a class period without taking a hit. I have had friends who've quit JUULing and are now smoking actual cigarettes to [...] decrease spending and nicotine intake which is somewhat ironic considering JUUL's mission statement. The entire situation is just very sad.”

“Advertisements used to be what teens looked at for what was cool to do. Now the ads are a lot more neutral, which has contributed to the decrease in smoking, as it has gotten a lot harder to make a widespread message [toward] millions of teens that smoking is cool. However, with the rise of social media, teens no longer look at advertisements to see what is cool. I feel like most teens couldn't care less about ads. Now social media is what teens look at for what is cool to do. Without stuff like Snapchat, YouTube, etc. I don't think there would be many teen JUULers at all. As long as social media is around to perpetuate the idea that JUULing is cool, it won't go away, regardless of any campaigns/movements against it. The only real solution would be to regulate social media that glorifies JUULing. However, that leads to limited self-expression, which never works out well with social media. Social media has a way of spreading things, regardless of whether the social media platforms themselves condone such content.”

“You may have never JUULed or used a drug and be tempted to do it because all your friends are doing it, or some person you've developed a crush on is doing it. I have had experience with that. There's this girl that I met from Brooklyn Tech, and she mentioned that she JUULed and drank and did drugs and all that. When she found out that I [had] never done all of those things and neither did I care for those things, she seemed to look down on me. For a moment, I wanted to start [JUULing] to ‘impress’ her but I decided against it. It is not worth it.”

“If people want to go ahead and [JUUL], that’s their problem, but my problem is when they go ahead and try to influence others with it or do it in a school.”

“You can't say much on the subject as an outsider. If you've never used it and you don't interact with people who use it, this survey cannot give you all the information and you cannot make a definite opinion.”

“JUULing is one of the most devastating issues currently facing Stuy. People all around the school, including me, are using it every free second they have, every time they can do it discreetly, and doing almost anything to get their hands on more pods when they run out. When I see my friends who are out of pods and need to wait one or two days to buy more (because their seller is unavailable or because they don't have enough money yet), they become more irritable and aren't themselves. Yet, we all keep doing it either because it has a connotation of being cool, or because it drastically helps reduce stress once you are addicted.”

“JUUL is terrible. I hate that I do it, I hate that my friends do it, and I wish I could stop. It’s just so hard. When I don’t have it, it’s always on my mind. Then when I go out and buy more pods, I don’t even feel happy or anything, just depressed that I gave into my addiction yet again. I’m worried than in 10 years it’ll be common knowledge that vaping causes cancer or something. That keeps me up at night sometimes.”