Teens have taken a technology that was supposed to help grownups stop smoking and invented a new kind of bad habit, molded in their own image.
By Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, May 14, 2018 Issue
If I get addicted to vaping, I thought, in March, I will always remember this Texas strip mall. I was walking out of a store called Smoke-N-Chill Novelties, in Southwest Austin, holding a receipt for $62.95 and two crisp, white shrink-wrapped boxes. I got into the driver’s seat of a rental car and began to open them. From one I extracted a Juul: a slim black vaporizer about half the width and weight of a Bic lighter, with rounded edges and a gently burnished finish. (It looks like a flash drive, everyone always points out. You can recharge it by plugging it into your computer.) From the other I extracted a thumbnail-size cartridge called a pod, filled with juice containing a cigarette pack’s worth of nicotine. The juice in my pod was cucumber-flavored. This was an odd choice, I was later told; of Juul’s eight flavors, people tend to prefer mango, or mint. I inserted the pod into the Juul, and a little light on the device glowed green. I took a sharp experimental inhalation and nearly jumped. It felt as if a tiny ghost had rushed out of the vaporizer and slapped me on the back of my throat.