The Price of Cool: A Teen, a Juul and Nicotine Addiction


That was rough.

“But I knew if my parents caught me, I couldn’t do it again, and that represented a future of not doing it,” Matt said. “I rationalized that it was better to do without it briefly, than forever.”

Then he found that the delayed gratification from leaving it at home was fantastic. “If you wait an hour, it feels great. But if you wait five hours, it feels unbelievable.”

At the end of the day, he would take a long, two-second draw, and keep it in his lungs, a practice called “zeroing,” because his body absorbed all the vapor, exhaling none. He’d zero it four or five times, feel dizzy, blink about 10 times, and then be fine.

One day, Matt’s mother walked into his room to collect his dirty laundry. There was his backpack, unzipped, open.

The confrontation with his parents was epic.

David Murphy, Matt’s father, was startled by the extent of Matt’s Juul concealment. He hadn’t suspected something was amiss. Matt’s behavior never seemed appreciably altered.

The vaping had to end, Mr. Murphy ordered. “I said, ‘Nicotine is a lifelong burden. There’s a big company with its hand in your pocket, distracting your thought process continuously. Juuling is a huge undocumented risk. Now, how do we come back together as a family and solve this problem?”

Two hours into the tearful conversation, Matt concluded: “I could not justify the addiction anymore. And I realized my parents were my allies. Because I wanted to stop and they wanted me to stop.”


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2,389 college students were surveyed on vaping by 

The biggest findings were:

32% own an e-cigarette in one form or another
– Over 50% have seen a classmate vape during a lecture or in the library
– Only 29% want their schools to do something about it



  1. And I realized my parents were my allies.

    Ha, if only more teenagers thought this way. Seems like most kids think their parents are just trying to ruin their fun for no good reason.


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