Vaping with JUUL — better known as JUULing — is what all the cool kids are doing these days. It’s an "epidemic" in high schools and celebrities like Katy Perry use the juice.
Even Malia Obama was recently spotted using one while in London with her boyfriend.
It’s so popular that state lawmakers are even looking for ways to curb use by minors, citing the growing body of evidence that shows the e-cigarette is addictive (thanks to high amounts of nicotine) and can have a negative impact on health.
"Just when teen cigarette use has hit a record low, juuling and vaping have become an epidemic in our schools with products that seem targeted to get young people hooked on nicotine," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in July. "I am investigating JUUL and online sellers of their products to keep these highly addictive products out of the hands of children."
How expensive is JUUL?
You’d think that JUUL is practically free, given how many people are using the e-cigarette and nicotine pods on a daily basis. It’s not, though: A device cost $34.99 to get started, with a four-pack of nicotine pods going for $15.99. A recent survey of 1,000 people conducted by LendEDU found that JUUL users spend an average of $180 a month.
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That might sound like a lot, but cigarettes are up there, too.
The average price of a pack of cigarettes, on the other hand, varies from state to state. A 2017 study by The Awl found that a pack tops out at almost $14 for 20 cigarettes — and people are spending an average of $238 a month, according to the LendEDU study.
So, JUUL users are saving an average of $58 by not using cigarettes.
Is JUUL safer than cigarettes?
That’s good news for people looking to switch from cigarettes to JUUL, but is JUUL really safer?
JUUL doesn’t contain the same cancer-causing ingredients — like tar and the chemicals Chrysene, Cadmium and Nitrosamines — but nicotine is addictive and is shown to have some health risks of its own. A recent study conducted by the University of Birmingham found that e-cigarettes can cause inflammation similar to regular smokers and those with chronic lung disease.
"They are safer in terms of cancer risk — but if you vape for 20 or 30 years and this can cause COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], then that's something we need to know about," study researcher David Thickett told the BBC.
"I don't believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigarettes — but we should have a cautious scepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe."