Breaking up with my Juul
For three years my Juul has been my constant companion, my best friend, the one who calmed me during tense moments and celebrated the fun times with me. Juul and I have traveled the country and the world together. Juul has never been much further away than my back pocket. Juul was the first thing I reached for in the morning and last thing I touched at night. We have more pictures together than I have with many family members.
People are mostly kind when they see me hitting my Juul. I rarely get asked to stop, no matter where I am. I get questions from people about how effective it is for quitting smoking. That’s where it gets awkward.
I didn’t start vaping to quit smoking
A little history
I started smoking at 14. My friend stole a pack of Marlboro lights from her parents, who bought them by the carton. I was not excited or especially interested in smoking, but peer pressure and the teenage desire to fit in got the better or me. I didn’t enjoy my first cigarette, but it made me feel grown-up and somewhat cool.
Cigarettes weren’t terribly difficult to get ahold of in the 90s. The local bowling alley had a cigarette machine that took quarters and being a machine couldn’t card you. I also grew up in a border town, which meant that in 15 minutes I could be over the bridge and handing $1.10 to a street vendor for a pack of Marlboros.
By the time I actually turned 18, I was smoking two packs a day. I was also spending 10 minutes every morning coughing up brown stuff, that I affectionately named “lung cookies”. The year before I turned 21, I had bronchitis six times. I quit smoking cold turkey at the age of 21 and stayed cigarette and nicotine-free for over 15 years.
Vaping enters my life
In my mid-30s, I went back to school to pursue my MBA. It was a fun challenge that I mostly balanced well with my full-time job. Toward the end of the two-year program though there was a master’s thesis due, and the increased stress started to pile on. I had a younger friend (late 20s) that vaped, and I tried hers a few times. I liked the flavor and the sense of relaxation and decided to get myself one of my own. I quickly became an enthusiast, spending ungodly amounts of money on my new hobby. And I enjoyed it. Feeling young and fun again. On one of my weekly trips to the vape shop, the gorgeous 20 something behind the counter introduced me to a new product they had gotten in, the Juul. The small size and simplicity intrigued me, and I thought how great this would be for work. I could discreetly enjoy my vape without going outside.
Juul takes over
In the first couple of days, I could barely vape the thing. The nicotine content was so much higher than I was used to; it made me lightheaded. But soon, I got used to it and stopped using my other devices. It was so easy to keep in my pocket with an extra slipped into my purse. I had found a new best friend. I loved the crème brulee flavor, slightly sweet but not overpowering. As Juul caught on with others and became all the rage, pods became harder to come by, and shops started charging double the retail price for them. I quickly discovered the auto-ship from Juul and now had my monthly supply delivered straight to my mailbox. So convenient.
Life stress overload
A short time later, I got divorced, and increasing stress led to increased Juul use. At the height of my divorce, I was vaping 4 pods a day. My friend from the vape shop was incredibly concerned and told me straight up to back it down. She said, “That is a LOT of nicotine. You are going to die. You need to cut back now.” I managed to back it down to two pods a day and have maintained pretty much this level of use for the last two years.
I’ve taken every offer for the “free” limited edition colors and currently carry 5 Juuls of varying colors with me everywhere I go. God forbid, I end up with no ability to vape.
As the public scrutiny of Juul ramped up and forced pod rationing has occurred for flavors other than mint or tobacco (max 15 packs a month you can order), I found myself increasingly irritated. Thinking to myself or complaining out loud how “stupid teens” liking the Juul, shouldn’t stop grown people from vaping to their heart’s delight. After all, every young person I encountered likes mint pods, and they are still freely available. And as I listened to myself complaining loudly in my head like a crotchety old man, I started to think, that maybe, just maybe it might be coming time to give up my beloved Juul.
Ready to quit
Today I’m giving up my Juul habit. I’m ready to give up dealing with leaky pods and stressing about if my auto-ship is going to make it to me before my last pack of pods runs out. I’ve created and recorded a quit vaping hypnosis script to listen to. My auto-ship has been suspended. I’m standing at the edge of being nicotine-free, ready to take the leap. As I finish this writing, taking a final hit or two off of my navy blue Juul, I’m reminded of a scene in the movie Trainspotting. When Mark “Rent-Boy” Renton says,
“This was to be my final hit, but let’s be clear about this. There’s final hits and final hits. What kind was this to be?”
Now, he was referring to heroin, and I’m referring to Juul, but the feeling is somewhat the same. Let’s hope I’m more successful than he was.
I’ll keep you updated.
Story first published at https://medium.com/@lornamoon/breaking-up-with-my-juul-3d3091bb017a