I Started Vaping at 18. Here’s What I learned

We all learned growing up never ever to touch a cigarette. We didn’t live in the cigarette generation, and I’m so thankful for that, but we’re in the midst of a similar issue now. When I was 18, I was introduced to what I now know as a Juul. A Juul is an e-cigarette, chemicals, and flavors mixed with nicotine that produces a similar feeling to smoking cigarettes. It is a buzz or high that goes away within minutes. E-cigarettes are new, and as a generation of young people, we lack education about these products.

Juul contains nicotine 

When I tried a Juul, I instantly loved it. I had no idea what it was, though, and had no idea what was to come. I started using other people’s Juuls whenever I was around one, which turned out to be pretty often. Wherever I went, someone was holding a Juul. Once I started college, there was no escaping it. My roommate had a Juul, there were Juuls at every party I went to. What I didn’t know was that buzz I had felt and loved so much was caused by nicotine. I didn’t know that nicotine was addictive; I had never smoked a cigarette in my life, and honestly didn’t know what was in them.

Juuling is highly addictive

Eventually, I bought my own Juul and soon, my life was ruled by this little black device. It is now three years and eight months later, and I still have a Juul in hand. Health reports started coming out, and that was the moment I realized I probably should quit. Before that, I had no desire to stop. I loved Juuling. I had never considered that it was terrible for my health. It was seen as a “healthy alternative to smoking,” and not once did it cross my mind that it was possibly harmful to me. By the time the health reports were coming out, it was far too late for me to give it up. I was in way too deep. I’ve been trying to quit since September 2019. It’s been months of tears and anxiety, trying to rid my life of the Juul and my nicotine addiction. I’m always scared that I’m going to end up like the people in hospitals, fighting for their lives with fluid in their lungs.

We need better education on the risks

Something important to note is that while I was 18, I still had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know it would lead to an addiction, or that my health would be put at risk. I hear about middle schoolers these days using Juul’s, and my heart hurts for them. They don’t know what they’re putting into their bodies, and by the time they do, addiction has already taken hold. There was no education about e-cigarettes or vaping, and now an entire generation has been taken hold of. We need better knowledge about what these devices are doing to us and the danger we’re putting ourselves in.

It’s not worth it

If you try a Juul, I guarantee you most of you would like it. That is the problem. You can’t let it take your life from you. It’s certainly not the cool thing to be known as someone who Juuls. I am starting to see them less now because of the health issues that they have caused, and it’s a celebratory moment when someone I know stops Juuling. I can say from experience, you do not want to be struggling with addiction like me at the age of twenty-two. You don’t want your life ruled by this machine, and the few moments of a nicotine buzz are not worth it.

-Belle (22)