Many students at New Mexico State University are reporting that the relatively new e-cigarette known as a JUUL (originating from JUUL Labs) is becoming increasingly popular among students around campus.
JUULs, patented in 2015 by JUUL Labs, have been popular among young people and those trying to quit smoking cigarettes.
English major, Mikayla Fuller, a junior, said she has seen how the product has influenced students on the NMSU campus.
“I would definitely say that JUULs are popular at NMSU—A majority of my friends own or have owned JUULs in the past, and they are way more popular than cigarettes,” Fuller said.
A JUUL is an e-cigarette that has a sleek design similar to a USB flash drive and comes in different flavors. The refillable JUUL Pods contain ingredients that are heated to create an aerosol in which the smoker inhales and puffs. According to JUUL Labs’ mission statement on their website, the purpose behind its product is to offer cigarette smokers an alternative product that “does not look or feel like a cigarette” to help them make the switch from cigarettes and it is unique in the way that nicotine salts are used instead of free-based nicotine.
Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education program Health Education Specialist Olivia De Leon explained the JUUL’s intended use in detail.
“As far as vaping compared to regular cigarettes, it was really created as a means for people who smoke to get off of cigarettes and JUUL advises that young people not use it especially if they weren’t tobacco users before,” De Leon said.
However, some students, like sophomore Samantha D’Amico said that many of the JUUL users at NMSU that they know did not use cigarettes prior to using JUULs, meaning that they did not use the JUULs to break a cigarette habit.
“I don’t know any of my friends that smoked cigarettes before. I could see how maybe in the older generation that would be true, but none of my friends had a nicotine addiction from cigarettes prior [to using JUULs],” D’Amico said.
Fuller said most of her friends, like D’Amico’s, did not smoke cigarettes before they acquired JUULs either.
“Almost everyone I know with a JUUL prefers them over cigarettes and as far as I know they didn’t smoke cigarettes before,” Fuller said.
Freshman Brooke Crowley said, “For me, I never smoked cigarettes before I got my JUUL and most people I know that have one didn’t smoke cigarettes before either.”
WAVE accepts requests for presentations on student wellness from NMSU classes or organizations. De Leon said one-way WAVE has seen JUUL increase is evidenced by the number of requests for vaping increasing.
“As far as the university is concerned, we have seen an increase with vapes, especially with younger students and Greek Life—Concern has been shown by our requests for presentations on vaping. You’ll walk around campus and see more people ‘JUULing,’ more requests not to be vaping in the building—which we weren’t seeing in previous years,” De Leon said.
JUUL popularity has increased from Spring 2018 to this semester, some students claim as well.
D’Amico, who became a user last semester, believes that is when the Juul boom began.
“I absolutely think, especially since last semester, they’ve gotten popular extremely popular. I rarely see cigarettes on campus, but I see JUULs constantly.”
Crowley said she has seen more JUUL users than cigarette users at NMSU.
“Most of the people I know have one [JUUL] and I hardly ever see people smoking cigarettes around campus,” Crowley said.
The Associated Students of New Mexico State University released a student opinion poll on Sept. 18.
One of its items asked students how they felt about moving towards a smoke-free campus—which is a topic that students were never polled on before—and the results have not been released yet.
When asked if the use of JUULs on campus had any influence on the question, ASNMSU President Emerson Morrow explained that students and staff have expressed concern about the smoking topic collectively.
“I had definitely heard some complaints about smoking on campus, especially right outside of buildings, from students and staff,” President Morrow said. “There are also a few people who expressed concern on social media. I know I saw at least a couple people post about the amount of vape/smoke they had seen at events like concerts and tailgates. Other than that, I have not seen anything regarding JUUL usage specifically,”
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