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As you unplug your fully charged Juul from your laptop and take a drag from a pod that is filled with artificial fruit flavoring, you probably aren’t thinking about how you appear to the people around you or the fact that the little metal device you’re sucking on is almost certainly giving you what medical experts refer to as “popcorn lung.” And despite claims that their product is healthier than smoking a real live cigarette, a quick Google search will tell you that smoking a Juul longterm is as bad or worse as heading down to your local convenience shop and snagging a pack of Camel Blues or Virginia Slims.
It’s okay, I too was once under the spell of the Juul. I had a portable charger for the thing and enough “fruit medley” flavor pods to last me for months, but I gave all of that up a few months back when I realized that I was no longer enjoying the Juul every now and again like I used to.
I had become a vape monster and I no longer recognized the person who I had become. I vaped nearly every waking moment of the day, taking a few drags before I’d hop in the shower in the morning, whipping that boy out on the subway, and even sneaking off to bathroom stalls at work to get a few puffs in. In my time as a cigarette smoker, it had never been as bad as this.
I will admit that the Juul has a convenience factor that cigarettes will never possess. There’s no lingering stench of cigarette smoke on your person after hitting the Juul, either. But that convenience factor – the ability to take a crackly puff of electronic smoke anywhere you want – is a two-way street. The fact that you can doesn’t mean you should. So when I found myself unable to sit at a desk for more than a few minutes without taking a puff of creme brulee flavored Juul smoke, I knew it was time to start asking myself a few hard hitting questions.
Q: “Is this really worth it?”
Q: “Do I look like an even bigger asshole than I already am?”
A: Hundo p.
Q: “How did it get to this point?”
A: It’s complicated.
This last question led me down a path towards one very hard truth: I am no longer the free wheeling, carefree 23-year old that I thought I would become when I bought the Juul. I saw teens and people in their early twenties all over my Twitter and Instagram feeds ripping Juuls like their life depended on it.
For months on end, I laughed at the never-ending stream of Juul videos coming my way until I finally caved under some “Keeping Up With The Joneses” type shit and bought one to try and I don’t even know what – fit in? I don’t know if I was trying to prove to myself or the young guns on the street that I could pick up a trendy new habit but one thing I do know for sure is that it’s not for me.
Cigarettes will always have a mystique attached to them that a Juul or any other kind of vape will never possess. No one looks all that cool sucking on what looks like an elongated USB flash drive. You know what’s cool? James Dean leaning against a car puffing away on a Lucky Strike and The Rat Pack sitting around in a restaurant, a drink in one hand and a cig in the other.
We’ve been blinded by fun flavor pods like creme brulee and fruit medley, all the while forgetting why we got into the smoking game in the first place – nicotine, people. Cigarettes were invented because since the dawn of man everyone has been out here just trying to catch a tasty buzz. I think Matthew McConaughey said it best in his acclaimed Lincoln commercial.
Sometimes you really do have to go back to move forward. In my case, it’s moving on from the futuristic Juul and picking up a pack of real live cigs. Anyone care for a Marlboro Red? .
Image via Unsplash