I bought my dad a Juul e-cigarette to see if he'd give up his Marlboros. Here's what happened

By | January 5, 2019

My dad isn’t much of a texter, but he’s been a smoker for 35 years.

its wild popularity among teenagers.

I wrote a story about adults who quit smoking by switching to Juul and it got me thinking. What if I bought my dad one? I pitched him the idea and he agreed. I live in New York and he lives in suburban Chicago, so we waited until I was home for Thanksgiving to start our experiment.

At home, I bought him a starter kit. I opened the box to show him how to assemble the device. I read through the four flavors — creme, fruit mint and tobacco — but when I reached fruit, he didn’t want to hear any of the others. Juul has gotten criticized for its kid-friendly fruity flavors, so I was surprised to find my 69-year-old father wanted to try one.

He took his first hit after we charged it. I asked him if now he would throw out the pack of Marlboro Lights he had sitting in his apartment. He said no. He wasn’t totally sold on Juul.

I left the Juul with him, thinking it would collect dust and asking him to send updates.

He called the next day, saying he liked “the e-cigarette.” By Friday, he said he was still lighting a cigarette every day out of habit, taking a drag and putting it out.

Nine days later, he called and proclaimed, “No more cigarettes.”

Then came the texts.

“Day 2 no smokes hoorah love Dad thanks”

“Day 11 going strong love dad”

“Day 16 holy cow unbelievable love dad”

“Special report. Food tastes better”

The journalist in me was skeptical. I would do my own investigation when I went home for Christmas.

Sure enough, he showed up to Christmas Eve with his Juul. After dinner, he pulled out his Juul instead of a cigarette. After our annual carriage ride, he used his Juul. He wasn’t kidding. No more cigarettes.

I asked him what happened. He said after a few days using both, he realized it was stupid. Why use the Juul and still smoke?

My dad’s been perpetually “quitting” for years. I don’t think he would ever truly quit on his own.

It’s now been a month since our experiment began. Dad says he now hasn’t smoked a cigarette in 30 days. It takes him one-and-a-half days to go through a pod. Each pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, meaning he’s consuming more nicotine than he was when he was smoking a few cigarettes every day.

Eventually he says he wants to wean himself off the Juul and free himself from nicotine altogether. For now, he seems happy puffing on his mint Juul pods.

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