Clean your Juuls this flu season

Michael Martinez

This winter, Juul will release new flavors — Mono Mango, Cold Cucumber and Tuberculosis Tobacco. Get your flavor free with any shared Juul. 

When vapes and other devices are shared indiscriminately, a lack of sanitation can result in the transmission of colds and other viruses. We’re taught from a young age to be hygienic and not spread disease. We’re told to wash our hands, sneeze into our elbows and clean our utensils. These habits are ingrained in us. However, vapes weren’t around when we were young, and our moms never badgered us to clean them. 

“The transmission of colds, flus, and coughs can be attributed to the sharing of drinks, utensils and e-cigarettes,” said Sherry Bell, University Health Service outreach coordinator. The recent popularity of vapes, especially Juuls, has resulted in an increase of their potential as disease vectors. This possibility is especially important as flu season approaches. Healthy habits should be applied accordingly. 

Viruses are especially prominent during the fall and winter because our immune systems are weaker. It’s hard to control all the factors that contribute to disease, but you should control what you can. When you’re aware of what can get you sick, there’s an obligation to stop the spread of disease. While transmission is a large-scale problem, the solutions can be implemented by individuals. 

When you or someone you know is sick with a virus, the CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched objects. This includes sanitizing your e-cigarettes. Viruses and bacterial diseases can spread by water droplets through sneezes and coughs, so any object can easily become a point of contact with a disease. The regular sanitation of vapes, e-cigarettes and other devices can make for a healthier UT campus and community. 

Brianna Braukhaus, a junior accounting major, said she shares her Juul with around five to 10 people every weekend. While sharing a vape is a harmless act, the potential of spreading disease should make us think twice before doing so. Because of the multiplicative nature of diseases, preventative measures can spare entire communities from illness. An individual sharing a Juul can spread colds and other diseases. Awareness of when someone is symptomatic can save you from a headache and sore throat.  

The long-term consequences of this scenario can affect academic life. In a study conducted at UT last spring, around 1 out of 5 students reported having used an e-cigarette. If these same students continue to practice poor hygiene with their vapes and e-cigarettes, an unassuming student can quickly turn a classroom into a sick bay. However, we can prevent outbreaks with healthy habits. Next time you hit a Juul, make sure the flavor is just mint or mango, not mono. 

Martinez is Plan II and government junior from Austin.