A crisis arises at 1:52 a.m. The night is young, but the pod’s life is waning. Each necessary hit from that stick of sweet, sweet nicotine nectar fuels the body with just enough sobering energy as to appear socially conscious at the bar, when in reality one more shot is probably the kiss of death.
For the fifth time in 15 minutes, the bouncer yells, “I see one more rip and I’m kicking you out of here,” but everyone knows that desperate times call for desperate measures.
Discreetly the vape god takes another rip, looks twice both ways, then proceeds to blow the smoke down his shirt and looks back up at the crowd as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, water vapor seeps discretely out the back of his shirt and into the surrounding air, per the general laws of gases.
Finally, the question of whether or not to leave the bar to find a healthier pod is answered, as the bouncer grabs the stealthy vaper by the back of the shirt and drags him to the entrance. “I gave you six chances, dumb—,” he says.
But this hate crime is only a minor setback. There is still a pod to be obtained.
From a distance, the lights to the local gas station appear dim and the “closed” sign illuminates the scene. A homeless man is pacing around the entrance while singing his own original tune, “The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar I’m gonna spend my only dollar on a JUUL pod tomorrow.”
Soon, though, the vaper realizes the song-and-dance number is just a mirage. The nicotine fiend does the math; it is unlikely a homeless man could afford such a precious device. But then again, who can trust the financial decisions of someone waiting outside of a gas station, four hours before it opens?
Real or not, the doors of the gas station are definitely locked. Alas, all that is left is a lonely pod seeker and a homeless man making a solid case to one day appear in a modern-day rendition of “Annie.”
The destitute singer takes a rip of fruit medley and looks on as the demoralized vape god stares with craving eyes. But there is still good in this world. The homeless man lends his last remaining hits to his companion, and both are able to halt the subtle tremor in their left hands.
Along with them being desperate enough to bum pods from homeless people outside of closed gas stations, here are three things you might notice about people who use JUULs.
1. Most JUUL users are, in fact, not homeless.
A large chunk of JUUL users are high school and college students. Although JUUL recently increased the minimum age to purchase their products to 21, it’s good to see that fake IDs and gas station clerks who could care less about the health of America’s youth still exist.
Vape clouds can be seen anywhere on a college campus. Between the need to calm the nerves during a stressful day of work and the lack of anything else to do while walking to class, vaping has become a cure-all solution. What mom and dad think is an extra $50/month loan for “school supplies” is more likely funding a nicotine habit.
There are no statistics currently attainable that link JUUL use to chances of becoming homeless, nor are there statistics relating homelessness to JUUL use.
However, given the fact that a JUUL costs $34.99, plus a starter pack of four pods for $15.99, these devices and the cost of continually replenishing pods are by no means cheap, so it seems unlikely a homeless person could afford the JUUL-vaping lifestyle.
2. They may not have given in yet, but future JUUL-using prospects are easy to spot.
Many have joined the JUUL-using trend; however, there is a part of the population that’s still holding out. You know, that group of loyal conservatives who hang by the flagpole (or whatever your college’s designated smoking area may be) and proudly smoke their Marlboro Reds or Turkish Camel Lights.
They refuse to be like those conformists that gave into big government and sold out their individuality to JUUL — until one day when they finally get tired of smelling like a chimney.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not JUUL is a less risky alternative to cigarettes.
A single JUUL pod is the nicotine equivalent to one pack of cigarettes; however, it contains more natural preservatives compared to its counterpart and thus has been deemed a safer option due to its reduction of hazardous chemicals that can induce cancer.
Once these flagpole dwellers decide they’re tired of smelling like an ashtray and google the facts, they’ll break free from their isolated spot and join the free vape-cloud blowers of the campus.
3. They’re addicted, but they don’t care.
The addiction to JUULs stems from the convenience and social stigma. Society has outcasted those who choose to smoke cigarettes in public, but that doesn’t negate the addictiveness of nicotine. Only about 6 percent of smokers are able to quit in a given year.
People will find alternatives to appease their needs, no matter how much society attempts to exile big-brand cigarette companies.
As a result, the rise of JUUL and other e-cigarette companies comes at the perfect time; as cigarette companies decline, “healthier” alternatives to consuming nicotine seem attractive to those who want to quit buying cigarettes, but are still in search of a buzz.
The convenience of the product is undeniable. Simply pull it out of your pant pocket, take a hit, put it back and get on with the day. The frequency with which people use their JUULs might seem obnoxious, but they don’t care.
Their friends may not like it, their parents may not like it and that bouncer who said five times to not use their JUUL inside the bar may not like it. But none of it matters — the homeless man vaping outside of the gas station is always a reliable friend.