The Village Market, longtime sole supplier of tobacco products in Gambier, has now begun carrying Juul pods. Juul, an electronic cigarette brand co-created by Kenyon alum James Monsees ’02, has become widely popular in recent years, having an estimated 72 percent share of all e-cigarette sales in 2018.
The Market has long known about Juul’s popularity. Market employee Rob Stringfellow said that the store had been getting requests for Juul pods for more than a year, but it wasn’t until recently that their normal tobacco supplier began selling the products.
“They only became available a couple weeks ago,” Stringfellow said. “We ordered six boxes as a trial run. We sold out on the very first day.”
Their next order, he said, will be for a thousand units. The Market hopes to have them available within a week.
As traditional cigarettes become less popular among students and Juul products become more widely used, the Market expects to cater more towards e-cigarette smokers. The Market’s future stock will include 2-packs of Juul pods as well as Juul chargers.
Many Kenyon students view this change as positive, particularly among the school’s sizeable Juul smoking community. Marshall Ghalioungui ’21 thinks that it’s important students have access to some form of nicotine, given the drug’s withdrawal symptoms. “There’s definitely a lot of cases where students who don’t have access to a car will be incredibly distracted because they don’t have a pod or something,” Ghalioungui said. “It’s sort of a stupid reason to not be paying attention in class.”
For students who are addicted, Rebecca Kornman ’22 thinks that not having nicotine access can lead to taking dangerous risks.
“When people don’t have access to pods, they start refilling their pods with suspicious vape juice,” Kornman said, referring to e-cigarette juices that have not been reviewed by medical authorities.
“Obviously we don’t know the effects of Juuling yet,” Kornman said, “but we know the effects of smoking cigarettes, and that’s really bad. If students can smoke less cigarettes because they have access to something that’s at least safer than suspicious vape juice, I think it’s a good thing.”
However, students interested in purchasing Juul products should be aware of a recent change in Ohio legislature: It is now illegal for stores to sell e-cigarette products, including Juul pods, to anyone under the age of 21. This law, which is backed by both Gov. Mark DeWine and Juul CEO Kevin Burns, is meant to reduce addiction rates among those whose first experience with nicotine stems from e-cigarettes.
When reached out for comment regarding their compliance on the new law, Village Market manager Timothy Newton declined to interview, opting for a written statement given to the Collegian.
“We at the Village Market strictly enforce the laws set forth by the government,” Newton wrote.