In the last couple of years, e-cigarettes and vaping captured the collective imagination of smokers everywhere. It was projected as a safer alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes are nothing but hand-held devices that gives users a feeling similar to that of cigarette smoking. It works by creating aerosols or vapours out of the a liquid mixture (one that contains propylene, glycol, glycerine, nicotine and flavourings). The vapours are then "smoked" like cigarette smoke and the act is called vaping. Although, even vaping has known to cause some undesirable side effects, vapers claim that it is safer than smoking.
Pax JUUL, a newer, swankier version of the e-cigarette dubbed the "iPhone of e-cigarettes" is said to be changing the vaping game. Developed in 2007 by researchers who were "dissatisfied with the health and social impacts of cigarettes," JUUL is an e-cigarette that doesn't want to be called an e-cigarette. If trends are to be believed, the swanky new way of "safe" smoking is touted to knock off vaping from its pedestal.
JUUL is a portable device, which, like the e-cigarette, is designed to give smokers the sensory experience of smoking cigarettes without looking like one. It is shaped like a long USB device which you can hook up with favoured JUUL pods and smoked. It's mentioned on the JUUL website that it differs from regular e-cigarettes in the way nicotine is used. Its vaporiser uses nicotine salts found in the tobacco leaf rather than free-base nicotine used by standard e-cigarettes. But like e-cigarettes, JUUL gives smokers a safer way to get their nicotine fix, without the deadly side effects.
Is it really safe?
E-cigarettes are considered safer than plain tobacco cigarettes, but they aren't exactly safe on their own. Even on the JUUL website the manufacturers state that "no tobacco or e-liquid product should ever be considered 'safe'." They go on to state that users should do their own research before first. Read the health effects of vaping
Like e-cigarettes, JUUL pods contain the same e-liquid mixture, which comprises propylene, glycol, glycerine, nicotine and flavourings. Since it contains nicotine, it can cause addiction among users. When the mix is heated, harmful compounds such as formaldehyde and acrolein are created. Additionally, if the JUUL pods contain metal parts that come in direct contact with the e-liquid, the smoke gets contaminated with the metals. Research suggest everything from DNA damage to cancer can be caused by vaping.
On the JUUL website, it is clearly stated that the device is meant for people above the age of 21 who already have a cigarette smoking habit, but news reports also suggest that JUUL is fast gaining popularity among teenagers. Since these devices look more like flash drives and less like e-cigarettes, hese kids have capitalising on the device's innocuous appearance to smoke in school.
Currently, we don't have much on JUUL to categorise it as a "safe"product. Since the e-cigarette category is new, it is not regulated enough by the FDA like cigarettes are. Only time can tell how e-cigarettes like JUUL will impact our health in the long run. Till then, as stated on the product website, it is best to do one's own research before taking it up.