Seventeen-year-old Jack Waxman, a New York City native, created a short documentary showing just how addictive Juuling can get.
"You couldn't be caught dead with a cigarette right now if you're a teenager, but with juuling, it's cool to Juul," said Waxman, as ABC News reports.
The documentary, which acts as a PSA to end e-cigarette addiction among teenagers, begins with a bold statement:
"The following production is a message to America."
The Juuling Problem
Waxman claims juuling has become an enormous problem among teenagers in his community.
"These flavors are drawing them in and the nicotine is forcing them to stay," he said.
Juul, for the uninitiated, is a vaping device in the shape of a small USB flash drive. It heats up liquid nicotine that users inhale. The pen uses capsules or pods which come in a number of flavors such as "cool mint" or "fruit medley."
Like other vape products, Juul accommodates nicotine levels similar to that of a cigarette to satisfy smokers who want to quit the habit, the product's website states.
"Juul was developed with the smoker in mind."
In the United States, it is estimated that about 3 million teenagers use e-cigarettes, and some of them have never even smoked a regular cigarette before, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"We are committed to eliminating cigarettes and providing smokers with a true alternative," says Juul. But Waxman's video tells a different story.
One teenager claims that some of her friends have switched to smoking cigarettes because after juuling so much, they think smoking the real thing is okay.
It's Cool To Juul
High school is typically the time when teenagers begin to have intense social anxiety and feel the need to fit in. The widespread use of Juul is no surprise, given that it's seen as cool "to Juul," as Vox reports.
Elijah Stewart was still in his sophomore year of high school when he discovered juuling, and immediately, he got hooked.
"After about a week, you feel like you need to puff on the Juul," says Stewart. "To some people it is like a baby pacifier, and they freak out when it's not near."
Stewart, now an engineering student at Providence College, now wants to get rid of the habit. Every four or five days he burns through a pod, which contains as much nicotine as two packs of cigarettes. It sets him back $16 to $32 each month.
But that's easier said than done. Juul, he says, is practically everywhere.
"If you were to go to any party, any social event, there would no doubt be a Juul."
According to Nielsen, Juul made up more than half of all e-cigarette sales in the United States as of March, a staggering figure considering it's only been in the market since 2015.
In its defense, Juul says its products are made only for adults.
"We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try Juul."
Waxman recently approached leaders to help curb e-cigarette addiction among teenagers, taking his concerns to the New York State legislature.
"The more people that know about the problem, the more people can take action and from there we can really make change," said Waxman.