As an R.J. Cutler-directed documentary series living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s ‘Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul’ can only be described as equal parts baffling and shocking. That’s because it carefully incorporates not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews to really shine a light upon the way this titular company forever changed the global nicotine market. Amongst those to thus feature in this original to help navigate the same was actually former teen vaper Phillip Fuhrman — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about him, here’s what we know.
Who is Phillip Fuhrman?
It was reportedly back in the summer of 2017 when New York native Phillip smoked his first e-cigarette despite being merely 14 years old, unaware of the fact it contained a lot of pure, hard nicotine. The truth is this to-be high school freshman was well aware of the dangers smoking posed, considering his grandfather had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and battled lung cancer twice. However, since vapes like Juul always marketed themselves as a lifestyle-health product free of tobacco, he thought they were quite safe — but alas, they turned out to be even more addicting.
“When I started using Juul…,” Phillip once expressed, “I was hooked by the familiar flavor of mint [in pods] and the sleek, high-tech device that first gave me a quick buzz — and then an addiction.” He then added, “My Juul became an everyday accessory for me, no different than the watch on my wrist or the phone in my pocket. One Juul pod can contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, but the minty flavor made that easy to forget. There was no smoky stench lingering on my clothes or breath. And Juuls were everywhere I turned: among my friends, at parties, and in convenience stores, right beside the candies and gum.”
It hence comes as no surprise Phillip never really thought of Juul-ing as dangerous, especially once a mental health specialist also outrightly implied the same during a seminar held at his school. According to the teen’s narrative in the docu-series, this speaker claimed to be “a Juul representative who knew the owner” before diving into how it was “99.9% safer than combustible cigarettes.” “After the talk,” the former candidly continued, “I did not feel the need to quit because of all these facts he was saying… I felt like I could move on and keep using it [Juul] without being worried.”
But alas, Juul did end up taking over Phillip’s life while also threatening his health — he once said, “Vaping seemed like a harmless habit… [yet] there’s nothing harmless about nicotine addiction. I couldn’t sleep at night, had intense mood swings, and became increasingly dehydrated. To buy my favorite mint pods, I wasted my hard-earned money from working three summers as a camp counselor. When my mom found and took away my Juul, it caused tremendous tension and I started to realize how addicted I was.” That’s when he began his journey of recovery, only to later testify at a New York City Council Committee hearing (2019) on banning flavored e-cigarettes for good to protect all youngsters.
Where is Phillip Fuhrman Now?
From what we can tell, Phillip graduated high school in 2021 and has since enrolled at Syracuse University within his wonderous home state to obtain a Bachelor’s in Recording and Entertainment. He actually prefers to remain well away from the limelight these days so as to be a relatively normal youngster, but it does appear as if he’s doing his best to move from the past at this moment.
Phillip is happy Juul has since pulled back all its flavors as that’s what had made teens like him easily susceptible, but he’s also happy about how public perception of this entire product is changing. In other words, apart from the fact he’s a recovering vaper determined to make a change in this world by sharing his story as well as helping out his mother’s non-profit Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes (PAVE), we unfortunately don’t know much regarding his present standing.