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The Difference Between JUULing and Vaping

3 different vape pen and ecigarette devices standing on a white table  

Vaping and JUULing have become an epidemic in the United States, especially among teens. In 2018 alone, more than 3.6 million youths in the U.S. vaped, including 20% high school students.

Recently, the dangerous consequences of vaping and JUULing have made headlines. Education about vaping is essential to protect teens from vaping addiction and discover helpful treatments. Unfortunately, however, the rapid development of the electronic cigarette industry has made it difficult for parents to understand teen vaping trends.

JUUL vs. Vape: What’s the Difference?

The many slang terms for and variations of e-cigarettes can easily overwhelm someone who is unfamiliar with these products. Just a few of these terms include dripping, mods, vape pens, tank systems, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

 Although many of these terms refer to similar products, there are key differences between JUULing and vaping.


The term “JUUL” refers to a brand of commonly sold e-cigarettes. In comparison, the terms “vape” and “e-cig” are general terms that refer to various electronic nicotine systems.

JUULs differ from other e-cigs in several ways:

  • Size and shape: Unlike larger devices that resemble cigarettes, JUULs resemble a small, USB drive.
  • USB chargers: These devices require JUUL USB chargers to maintain their battery level.
  • Pods: JUULs utilize a pod system to refill liquid into the system.
  • Flavors: JUUL pods are available in numerous flavors that appeal to young people (e.g. Mango and Fruit Medley).
  • Nicotine: JUULs use nicotine salts which allow the user to inhale larger nicotine content. The nicotine content of a JUUL pod is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes.
  • Discretion: JUULs produce a more discreet vapor, making it easier to JUUL unnoticed.

JUULs have become very popular; between 2016 and 2017, sales surged by 600%. There is no evidence, however, that JUULs can help individuals quit smoking. In fact, teens who JUUL are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.


The term “vaping” is more general. This refers to any system that uses a heating element to vaporize a liquid which is then inhaled. Although vapes vary greatly in appearance, they all contain four components:

  • Vape cartridge or reservoir: This holds a liquid called “juice” or “e-liquid” which can contain nicotine or other chemicals.
  • Atomizer: This heating element vaporizes the liquid.
  • Battery: This provides a power source that produces energy for the atomizer.
  • Mouthpiece: The user holds this part to their mouth to inhale the vapor.

Vapes are also more customizable than JUULs and JUUL pods. Individuals can create unique flavors and blends of ingredients to vape, including versions without nicotine; some fill their vape pen with weed oil to get high.

Vapes typically give off a strong odor and large clouds of vapor upon exhale. As a result, vapes are more noticeable than JUULs.

Is Vaping or JUULing Safe?

Contrary to popular belief, vaping and JUULing are not safe, especially for teens with developing brains. Vaping can result in many health issues, including addiction.

Furthermore, the nicotine in vape juice acts as a stimulant in the brain and produces effects like:

  • Higher blood pressure
  • Higher heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate

Teens who use nicotine can develop problems with learning, attention and memory. 66% of people do not realize that all JUUL pods contain nicotine, so many teens may be unaware of the health risks associated with JUULing. Unfortunately, vape companies (including JUUL) market to minors; 80% of all middle and high school students have been exposed to advertisements for vapes.

Even users who vape nicotine-free substances are at risk. Many vaping liquids contain dangerous chemicals, and additional chemicals are produced through the vaping process. A study of vaping found:

  • Cancer-causing compounds
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Metals like nickel, tin, lead, and chromium
  • Cadmium

Repeated exposure to these toxins can cause breathing problems and other unwanted complications. Vaping-related injuries and deaths are already emerging, but the driving force of the problems remains unclear. As investigations into vaping are relatively new, more evidence will likely emerge in time.

Finding Help for Teen Addiction

Whether it involves nicotine, alcohol, marijuana or other illicit drugs, teen addiction is a serious concern. A substance abuse disorder does not simply go away; teens who are abusing alcohol and other drugs require professional treatment.

The treatment process must completely evaluate the teen to determine if they are only addicted to e-cigs or other substances as well. Depending on the assessment’s findings, the symptoms’ severity and the possibility of compounding variables, the teen may need a period of rehabilitation with recovery.

The process may seem complicated and overwhelming, but this does not have to be the case. People seeking drug rehab in Florida for their teenage son or daughter should consider the Next Generation Village. Contacting the Next Generation Village can simplify the process of finding help for addiction treatment.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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