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Why You Should Be Worried About JUULs on Campus

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Because they're everywhere.

When a looming cloud of vapor trails a passerby and assaults your face, it's likely coming from a USB smoking device known as a JUUL.

That's because JUUL owns nearly 75% of the e-cigarette market share.

So addictive are their fruity flavors they’re no longer sold in brick-and-mortar stores to curb ‘epidemic’ levels of teen vaping.

Since e-cigarette and JUUL usage has been on a steep rise, we wanted to see what college students thought about the latest e-cigarette trend.

So, we surveyed 2389 college students on JUULs in various years to find out.

Here's what we found:

-31.8% of college students surveyed say they own an e-cigarette in one form or another.

-55% say they've seen classmates vape during a lecture and 50.5% saw peers vaping in the school library.

-Only 5% of e-cigarette/vape owners say they want their schools to do something about vaping on campus (such as preventative measures or awareness) while 40% of non-owners say they want their schools to do something about it.

-Only 29% of all respondents want their school to do something about JUULs on campus.

For those who want their schools to do something about it, the biggest problem is that they're being used in places where they're not supposed to be used. Survey and Responses

Methodology is below.

What Makes JUULs So Special?

image of a JUUL kit, a JUUL, 4 JUUL pods and the JUUL charger on a wooden table

JUUL Starter kit that comes with the JUUL, a charger, and 4 flavor pods.

They're marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes.

They're also inconspicuously small, perfectly pocket-sized so you can bring them anywhere.

They also taste good.

Ever wanted to smoke in your room but was worried about your housemates and the thought of leaving your house was too much of a hassle?

You can do that now, and no one would be the wiser.

The convenience in size and liberal use is why JUULs have taken off, especially among young adults.

College students on JUULs - How prevalent is it on college campuses?

behind the back photo of a man on campus leaving a trail of smoke

This is most likely a common sight for students while walking across campus.

According to our survey, it's quite prevalent.

survey responses for "do you own an e-cigarette"

31.8% own an e-cigarette in one form or the other.

The alarming rise in the use of e-cigarettes prompted Penn State University to enforce a policy that prevents the purchase of tobacco products and smoking accessories with their student payment card.

As of September 2018, 65 college campuses in Canada have enacted
policies towards a 100% smoke-free campus.

JUULs on campus are prevalent wherever establishments have conventionally forbidden smoking.

Vaping circumvents dorm policies that haven't been quick to stretch the definition of smoking to include vaping. Even still, smoking these JUULs inside dorm rooms won't produce the noxious smell that cigarettes do and it won't trigger fire alarms.

The local college bars and clubs stand no chance either. JUUL users just go to the washroom and have a few hits, or smoke it among the crowd.

Plus no one will have qualms about vaping inside a house party. It'll likely be encouraged if you let the host have a hit.

There’s simply no trailing evidence of smoking use after it’s used, which is what previously irritated people.

Less harm, less foul, as it's believed.

What are the health risks associated with JUULs?

nicotine warning label stating that nicotine is harmful and an addictive chemical

Nicotine warning label.


E-cigarettes merely transmuted the form of smoke to vapor while retaining the addictive property of a cigarette: nicotine.

Ten hits are equivalent to a single cigarette in nicotine content. Overall, the amount of nicotine in a single JUUL pod is equal to a pack of cigarettes; that is, 20 cigarettes.

Early JUUL users often say that one hit is enough to make you feel an immediate high given how quickly it enters your bloodstream.

JUUL acknowledges that nicotine is highly addictive, but where they appear to differ from cigarettes are in its cancer-causing agents.

According to their site, they assert: ‘these alternatives contain nicotine, which has not been shown to cause cancer but can create dependency.’

We know, however, that combustible cigarettes are without a doubt cancer-causing. They contain 7,000 chemicals, where at least 70 of which cause cancer. In this form, it’s infinitely less healthy.

For the collegian, the studied health hazards of nicotine escape them in moderate doses as there is more evidence of it causing damage to people in earlier stages of life.

But addiction is real.

Listed as the third most addictive chemical behind heroin and cocaine, nicotine can produce dependence that’s extremely difficult to kick.

So yes, habitual use of JUULs is bad for you.

Why It Matters to Non-JUUL Users on Campus

Because of second-hand exposure to nicotine.

No one enjoys a plume of smoke in their face that they're not the cause of. No one also solicits nicotine highs they didn't ask for.

According to our survey, 54.8% and 50.5% of students said they've seen someone vape during a lecture and in the library, respectively.

survey responses for "have you seen someone vape during a lecture". the result is almost half
survey responses for "have you seen someone vape in the library". the result is almost half

If you're trying to study or listen to a lecture, it can also be incredibly distracting seeing a cloud of smoke appear randomly or even noticing their incredibly potent smell.

What can be done?

Students can try to push their school administrations to raise awareness about the potential health risks of JUULs and e-cigarettes on campus and incorporate measures to hopefully prevent students from distracting others and potentially harming their health by vaping on campus.

But who wants these changes to be made?

According to our survey, not a lot of people.

survey results for "do you want the school to do something about e-cigarettes and JUULs on campus". The result is that only 5% of e-cigarette owners said yes while 40% of non-owners said yes.

40% of non-owners want their school to do something about JUULs on campus compared to only 5% of e-cigarette owners.

Additionally, when looking at total survey respondents, only the strong majority didn't want their school to do anything about JUULs on campus.

survey results for "do you want the school to do something about it" regarding JUULs on campus. Results show that only 29% want changes to be made.

Only 29% of respondents said they want their school to do something about JUULs on campus.

Although there is a good proportion of students who wish that their schools would put policies in place to handle the JUUL/e-cigarette epidemic, the strong majority simply doesn't care or doesn't want their school to do anything about it despite its potential negative and harmful effects.

Whether you're studying in the library, sitting in a lecture, enjoying a drink at the bar, or walking to class, the possibility of inhaling second-hand nicotine from college students on JUULs is higher than in previous years given the explosive number of users.

With the cult-like following that JUUL has and the amount of students who wish to continue juuling on campus, the number of e-cigarette smokers among young adults will only increase.

Previously non-smokers could escape from smokers by being where they are not: indoors. Regrettably, there hasn't been much in the effect of policing indoor smoking of e-cigarettes simply because it's too hard to.

And no fire alarms to blow the whistle.


Based on survey data collected from 2,389 college students aged 18-24 years old located in US & Canada. Students were engaged on social platforms. This survey was conducted January 7-10.

Survey Questions:

Popular topics:

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