New Age Smoking: Juuls as a Fashion Statement
Jamier Jones-Holland, Kayla Perot, Ferguson Cochran, Brian Gibson
Most believe smoking is to suppress the withdrawal from nicotine and feed the addiction. Smoking has come a very long way, from rolling your own cigarettes to a pack of about twenty with the surgeon general’s warning in bold letters. In present day 2018, there has been a decrease in smoking actual cigarettes due to the disgusting stigma that comes with them. However, smoking itself still remains at large. Vaping, in many forms, is all the rage, but why? The continuous prevalence of smoking comes from it being the “it” thing. Of course, some smoke because they are actual smokers and enjoy it, but it’s likely that popularity of this action is from simply seeing someone else do it. The new fad across the United States is the Juul (shown to the left), a vaporizer without the bulk and a cigarette without the stigma. Young adults, predominately college students, are going crazy for the newest toy and everyone is asking, “Do you Juul?”. A subtle, but significant fashion statement. Have you ever been deemed the “uncool” friend because you don’t own a Juul? Well, you’re probably not the only one. Before we get into how cool it is to Juul, we must take a trip down memory lane and visit the fact that it has always been chic to smoke.
The growing and use of Tobacco has been traced back since the pre-Columbian era and used by the Mayans in present day Mexico. Researchers have found drawings dated back to around 600 to 900 C.E. of the tobacco plant by tribe members and it believed they smoked for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Introduced to Christopher Columbus, during his exploration of the New World, by the Native Americans, tobacco found its way back to Europe. However, tobacco was not too popular for its health benefits until about the sixteenth century. Once it was popular, the leaves were used to help wounds from infection, chewed to help tooth pain, and freshen people’s breath. Tobacco became popular in the American colonies when John Rolfe grew the plant as the first commercial crop in Virginia in 1612, which helped economically and developed Virginia’s largest export. The commercial product of a cigarette began in 1865 when Washington Duke grew tobacco, hand-rolled it into an actual cigarette and sold them on his farm in Raleigh, North Carolina. Then in 1880, James Bonsack invented a machine that could roll them and produce more than one hundred thousand cigarettes a day. Later partnered with Washington’s son, James Duke, the cigarette factory and company called American Tobacco Company opened, becoming the largest tobacco company in the United States at the time. During this period, people didn’t think tobacco had any massive risks to them and were unaware about how it affected their health. Near the end of the 1930s, a physician at Johns Hopkins University released his report of conducted research on cigarettes and concluded that smokers died sooner than nonsmokers. A decade later, the American Cancer Society started to see a correlation between cancer and smoking. Cigarette sales began to decline, starting in about 1952, when publications began to write about the negative health effects and dangers of smoking. The tobacco industry then formed the Tobacco Industry Research Committee in 1953 to save the industry and counter the opposing claims. Cigarettes then started to be made with filters and lower tar cigarettes help sales increase again.
Popularity of cigarettes quickly rose. Smoking cigarettes took place everywhere such as; schools, hospitals, air planes, etc. It is hard to imagine that our country was once like this especially with all of laws that govern where smoking is allowed, but with the help of movies and television, we are able to see a glimpse of what it was like when cigarettes were at an all-time high. Smoking in Hollywood has always been a serious business, from big movies to small TV shows tobacco is everywhere. Big movies such as the Lord of the Rings series, The Great Gatsby, and Wolf of Wall Street have a massive amount of tobacco products featured throughout their runtime. Television shows such as Mad Men, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, and Orange is the New Black are in fact even worse, showing their characters smoking in many of the scenes (Truth Initiative). These tobacco products and their incessant use often changes public opinion on how smoking is viewed and when it is acceptable to smoke. Children see their favorite heroes with a cigarette, and suddenly it’s not as bad as their parents preached. Even the actors and actresses themselves know what they are doing, often substituting real tobacco products for nicotine-free herbal cigarettes but this wasn’t always the case (Circa). In the early days of Hollywood actors used real cigarettes to promote a certain brand, but even if actors today smoke real tobacco off screen, they will often opt out of the real thing for filming. This protects the actor and helps to show the audiences a heavy smoking atmosphere while ensuring that they themselves remain healthy.
The downfall of cigarettes, that became abundantly clear, was the unhealthy side to them. With increasing laws and a large push for regulation or increased taxation on tobacco, an alternative was becoming more and more of a necessity. That is when electronic cigarettes and vaping came into play. Electronic cigarettes or commonly known as “e-cigs,” first began production in the 1930s, but were not officially in the market until 1992, for people who were looking for substitutes to quit smoking. Vapes, as shown below can come in many different sizes and caters to many different people (Washington Examiner).
Doctor, and overseer of research at the Center of Addiction, Linda Ritcher in her article, “What is Vaping”, says “Vaping has grown in popularity with the rise of e-cigarettes, which were introduced to the mass market in the U.S. in 2007. Vaping devices include not just e-cigarettes, but also vape pens and advanced personal vaporizers (also known as ‘MODS’).” (Ritcher). The e-cig market has grown tremendously and has been popular with the younger crowd. Those who vaped were able to get their nicotine fill without the unhealthy side effects cigarettes bring. The world was then filled with giant smoke clouds with smells of fruit and desserts. In 2015, an e-cigarette known as a Juul was developed and started to run the nicotine market. The Juul is a vape that has reusable cartridges and can be carried just about anywhere with its extremely long battery life. Not only were adult using the Juul to quit smoking, but teenagers were using it as a way to smoke nicotine in a confidential way. One Juul pod is roughly equal to a pack of cigarettes and has been affecting teenagers drastically since they came on to market. Everyone was then seen with a Juul. Friends were obsessed with the fruity pods and suggested them to their other friends. Juuls became extremely fashionable and were seen roughly seen as a popularity status, if owned a Juul you were cool.
To explore the prominence of smoking at Louisiana State University, exclusively, our group has conducted a bit of research. Our very own team member, Kayla Percot, entered the field and polled bout fifty attendees of LSU. The poll included; deciding which picture (smoking or nonsmoking) of Leonardo DiCaprio is more appealing, if they smoked nicotine, and what lead them to smoke nicotine. The results of the DiCaprio poll were 76% for the picture of him smoking with 38 students agreeing that he was better looking with a cigarette in his mouth. This poll illustrated the appeal and popularity that smoking has which is commonly illustrated in media to allure people. With 56% of students saying they did in fact smoke nicotine, we furthered research with this group by asking “Do you smoke because of your friends or other reasons?”. Our results yielded a 71% response in smoking because of friends, a demonstration of smoking being a trend coming from approval by one’s peers.
Louisiana State University is a strict no-smoking campus, but a couple of signs do not enforce the rule. Have you ever walked through the quad and been choked by the smell of cigarette smoke? Or been in class and a whiff of mango is all of a sudden present with a faint cloud attached? If you’ve experienced this faint mango, or other fruits and desserts, chances are someone is juuling nearby. As seen below, students can often be observed bellowing massive clouds of flavored vapor right in the middle of the Quad, just in front of multiple signs that reminds students that smoking is not allowed (Lsunow).
Though it isn’t said, Juuls are widely more accepted. You cannot just light a cigarette in class without severe consequences, but it is likely you can take a rip from a Juul without getting your head torn off. Due to its absolute discretion and flash drive like model, Juuls are the thing to have. The cycle of this product typically goes; a friend has a Juul and out of curiosity another friend asks what it is and tries, they buy their own, someone else asks, and so on and so forth. This course of action makes Juul a self-advertising product and a popularity status. Everyone cool has a Juul. Now Juuls are prevalent, people are asking what flavor their favorite is, and even skins (decorative cases) are being made. Once a Juul is purchased, it becomes a part of their person. It becomes as important as carrying a wallet or a phone. On college website The Black Sheep under Louisiana State University, there is an article “5 Assholes at LSU Better Than You”, written by student Emma Young, that lists “I hAvE a JuUl” as number 5. “She’s better than you because she has a titanium rectangle sticking out of her Reggie’s phone wallet. (Young)”. Being on a list as such is a perfect example of the prevalence of this product. A large portion of LSU’s population can be seen with one and a Juul is now the perfect accessory.
No one has really noticed how much smoking is a fashion statement in itself. Through its different products, its prevalence has continued. In 2016, the new fad is the Juul. Seen mostly in high schools and colleges, Juuls are predominant among teenagers and young adults. With so many flavors as shown on the right and the ease at which you can purchase them, it is not hard to see how the Juul became so popular as an alternative to traditional tobacco products. The spread of juuling, like other nicotine products, comes from seeing others with them. The lack of advertisement and Juul’s discretion causes all the rage among youth. Smoking has always been a trend. From smoking in all common places, being glorified, and appealing to many different groups, smoking has remained on top for decades. Juul will always be cool, at least until the next smoking trend.
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