This article originally appeared on VICE US
In the past year, JUUL has whittled its selection of flavors down from eight to just three, all options that mimic the taste of regular cigarettes: Classic Tobacco, Virginia Tobacco, and Menthol. The last flavor to go was Mint, after a recent national survey showed it was the most popular choice among teenagers in 10th and 12th grade. Now, unless you happen to live in a location where alternatively-sourced JUUL-branded flavored pods from other countries like Canada remain ubiquitous on store shelves, the only above-board way to continue using flavored products is to switch to another vape brand. According to the conversation flurrying on the r/juul subreddit, that’s exactly what’s happening. On Monday morning, the most popular content on the r/ruul subreddit was about… ditching JUUL.
A quick scroll shows more than a dozen posts inquiring about and recommending non-JUUL devices. “Let me know if you find a good replacement! I’m also on my last mint pod,” reads one comment on a thread seeking a consensus opinion on a suitable JUUL alternative. Other posts are pretty similar; the shared impetus behind each one appears to be a desire to continue vaping flavors beyond tobacco and menthol. Many posters say they refuse to return to cigarettes, and, in light of JUUL’s increased restrictions, feel forced to find jump ship from one brand to another.
This is sort of a cruel irony, given that, just three days ago, on Friday, the CDC released findings that suggest vitamin E acetate, which is mostly used in THC products for diluting and thickening, but is also sometimes used in nicotine-only liquids, is the likely culprit behind the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses that began in mid-August. The CDC hasn’t excused any particular brands or suppliers from the outbreak yet, so it’s not clear if switching from JUUL to another brand will meaningfully affect the risk of lung illness. No one seems to have a handle on the precise contents of any brand of pods, at least not yet.
Switching from JUUL to some other device is also kind of a pointless move, since the FDA is expected to restrict all non-tobacco and menthol liquids pretty soon. Weird… how JUUL… somehow beat the FDA to it? Anyway, the point remains: JUULers who are mad about losing access to flavored pods probably won’t be able to get flavors from other brands for that much longer. Which portends another increasingly popular post on r/juul: a photo of too many boxes of pods to count, which has major doomsday-prepper, imminent apocalypse vibes.