You've seen it everywhere, being used by people of all ages, in almost any area where smoking is permitted: on campus, at the beach, downtown, at the bar, even at amusement parks.
But it's not a cigarette.
The device looks like a USB flash drive, is no bigger than a credit card, and produces wispy vapor that is, essentially, odorless.
The Juul vape: What some would call the "iPhone of e-cigarettes."
But what makes it so alluring that the FDA has to regulate convenience store sales to prevent teens from developing a nicotine addiction?
Well, many things.
Here's Everything You Need to Know about the Juul Vape
It's compact, easy to use, and an effective alternative for adult smokers. Here's the rundown.
How to Use a Juul
Start by ensuring that your Juul is charged. Simply tap the device two times with your finger, and the light indicator will tell you its battery level: Green is high, yellow is medium, and red is low. (See How to Charge Your Juul below.)
Next, insert a pod into the device. Once the pod clicks into place, the light indicator will briefly turn white, which means it's ready to use. (More on Juul pods below.)
Unlike other vape pens, the Juul has no buttons. To hit a Juul, all you have to do put the pod up to your mouth and inhale. You don't have to turn it on, and you can carry it around in your purse, backpack, or even pocket without worrying about it going off.
How to Charge a Juul
When it's time to charge the Juul's battery, all you have to do is dock it to the USB charger that plugs into your computer. If a computer isn't readily available, any horizontal USB adapter will do.
The Juul and its charger are magnetic, so they will stay in place. There are even cases that let you charge it on the go.
The Juul only takes about an hour to charge, and one charge can last you up to a day, depending on how frequently you use it.
However, be aware that some users have complained that the battery only lasts them a few months before it stops charging. But if you need to replace your device, don't worry: Juul has a standard one-year warranty.
Each Juul pod is equivalent to about one pack of cigarettes, and they come in a variety of flavors. Vape in the Box offers four-packs of cool mint, classic menthol, Virginia tobacco and classic tobacco for $17.99.
However, you'll have to pay a few extra bucks if you want flavors such as mango, cucumber, creme brulee and fruit medley. This is because the FDA recently cracked down on the sale of these flavors in convenience stores in an attempt to discourage teen vaping.
Most Juul pods are sold in concentrations of 5% nicotine by weight. But if you're looking for slightly smaller concentrations, Juul now also has a 3% version of all of its flavors.
Not Like Other Vapes
You don't have to be a vape expert to use a Juul. Cleaning and maintenance are a breeze because you don't have to worry about assembling coils, tanks, juices or batteries. When your juice is low, all you have to do is replace the pod.
But that's not the only thing that sets the Juul apart from other vapes.
Because of its size, Juul has to use a different e-juice from other vapes: nicotine salt. While other vapes on the market initially used freebase nicotine, the secret to Juul is freebase nicotine bonded to benzoic acid.
If you're not a chemistry major, that probably means nothing to you. Basically, the result is a thinner juice with a higher nicotine concentration that's easier on the throat.
Nicotine salt crosses the blood brain barrier faster than freebase nicotine, which results in a more immediate buzz. It also vaporizes at a lower temperature than freebase nicotine, which is why the heating element in a Juul can be so small. And a smaller heating element means a lower risk of the device overheating.
While Juul hasn't been on the market enough for scientists to study its long-term health effects, there is a positive outlook. Studies have shown that switching from smoking to vaping can save millions of years of life.
That's because vaping is 95% safer than smoking tobacco. And with nicotine salt, you get the same buzz from hitting a Juul as you would from smoking a cigarette, which is why it's such a hit among smokers trying to quit.
Plus, Juul vapor doesn't stick around on your clothes or your breath. You don't have to worry about burning yourself or spilling ashes. Gone are the days of excusing yourself for a smoke outside.
Be wary of "Juuling" in the workplace, though. Some states, like Florida, have banned workplace vaping.
Here to Stay
There's a reason why Juul is a $38 billion company. It markets a small, simple vape pen that's perfect for beginners.
For smokers who want to kick the habit, the Juul vape is a convenient, equally satisfying alternative. For people who want to vape without all of the complicated gizmos and gadgets, the Juul is good for them, too.
Although Juul is not completely harmless, it is significantly healthier than smoking. And you can rest assured that vaping is not a gateway to tobacco use, as less than 1% of people who vaped in 2015 had become regular cigarette users.
Interested? Check out Vape in the Box's selection of Juul products to get started.