There is a common phrase which people say as they get older: "If I had known then what I know now, I would/would not have…" Perhaps if our grandparents had known the harmful side effects of cigarettes, they would have never gotten addicted in the first place. If they had known tobacco products would cause wrinkles, rotting teeth, lung and heart problems, cancer and death, they may have stayed as far away from nicotine and tobacco as possible, which is why Juul and E-cigarette popularity among young people is truly shocking. E-cigs are better and safer than cigarettes, right? Well, that depends on what definition of 'safe' is used.
According to Kate Livermore with The Roar, "[Juul's] are a less toxic approach to smoking cigarettes for smokers because they don’t give off the same pollution. [...] The pods, however, are still not recyclable, meaning they can be discarded the same way cigarette butts are — thrown on the ground and as 'trash.'"
So, yes, Juuls do produce less pollution than regular cigarettes. However, this does not mean they are environmentally friendly. Notice, however, Livermore says less toxic 'for smokers.' 'Smokers' are people who have a smoking habit and are looking for a better alternative. If someone who has been smoking for years suddenly decides to switch to Juul pods or E-cigarettes, their impact on the environment decreases.
However, if someone who has never smoked a cigarette decides to start smoking vape pens or Juul pods, they are still releasing smoke vapor into the air and possibly tossing pods as litter, thus causing more harm to the environment.
Considering the condition the planet is in now, the environmental impact alone should be reason enough to steer clear of smoking in any form. However, there is still another meaning of 'safe' which should be looked at.
For a person who has never had exposure to nicotine, arguably the most addictive substance on the planet, it would be wise to stay away from it. Previous generations did not have the advantage of knowing the harmful effects of nicotine. However, research today consistently shows how bad nicotine is for the human body. We know it can cause cancer, birth defects, infertility, heart attacks, strokes and so much more, as reported by Adam Felman with Medical News Today.
A problem with Juul being thought of as 'safer' health wise is, according to the Truth Initiative, one Juul cartridge is equivalent in nicotine content to 200 puffs of cigarettes. This means that smoking one Juul pod is just as bad, nicotine wise, as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. Not only do these pods have an extremely high dose of nicotine, but they have not been on the market long enough to know the long-term effects.
Interestingly enough, according to CBS News, CEO of Juul, Kevin Burns, shows little reassurance Juul pods are safe.
In fact, in that same interview, Burns warned non-smokers by saying, "Don't vape. Don't use Juul."
The CEO of Juul himself, whose team, in the same interview, stepped out of the room to coordinate their product messaging, warned against using their products and other vape products.
The truth is, as of right now, there is not enough research to determine the long-term effects of vaping or using Juul products. The best thing to do when it comes to vaping is to not start at all.