Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul

Holt. May 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781250777539. $29.99. BUS
Vaping, a new way of smoking, found its way into mainstream culture in the early 21st century. It was initially seen as a way to reduce health risks associated with cigarette smoking; more recently, some disastrous effects have led to more vaping regulations in the U.S., though still far fewer than the regulations applied to cigarettes. Did vaping solve the issue of smoking? This wide-ranging book by health and science journalist Ducharme discusses a particular vaping device, the Juul, from its launch as a grad school design project in 2005, to the present day—including extensive research and testing, and how teenagers were drawn to Juul and how schools responded in turn. The author begins the book with a story line that she follows throughout, making for an interesting read. The narrative is enhanced by Ducharme’s accessible writing and her time lines of events in the quick rise and steady fall of Juul.
VERDICT Ducharme grabs readers’ attention early on. This is not a scientific book, but rather a social examination of the rise of the vaping industry. For fans of Sherri Mabry Gordon’s Smoking, Vaping, and Your Health.
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