What has JUUL done now?
“JUUL has been the focus of growing public anger and concern over what federal officials have called ‘an epidemic’ of underage vaping.”
“The case, brought by Massachusetts after a lengthy investigation, presents some of the strongest evidence the vaping company was marketing to teenagers” (NYTimes,2020). Evidence in the suit points out the marketing efforts made by JUUL add to market their product on educational sites, sites which were targeted to young girls and also sites which were for high school students who were searching for colleges. JUUL has stated that they “halted television, print and digital advertising and eliminated most flavours in response to concerns by government officials and others. We will continue to reset the vapour category in the U.S. and seek to earn the trust of society by working co-operatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes”. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody raises concerns saying that underage vaping has become an epidemic across the country.
JUUL Labs, Inc has a reputation for being the company that has created a device which is appealing towards children. In some cases, people refer to JUUL’S as the “iPhone” of the E-cigarette industry. JUUL’S which are extremely popular in The United States of America is the top-selling tobacco cessation device in the market. Established in 2015, it is one of the fastest-growing E-cigarette company in the world, just after 4 years of operation, they had a global evaluation of $38billion (€34.6billion).
Websites which JUUL has advertised on
Sites Target For Young Girls
Sites For High Schoolers Looking At Colleges
Since last year JUUL Labs, Inc has been battling against accusations which claim that they are advertising towards teenagers. A report by CNBC states that “investigators from 39 states will look into the marketing and sales of vaping products by JUUL Labs, including whether the company targeted youths and made misleading claims about nicotine content in its devices, officials announced” (CNBC,2020). The report also highlights how JUUL has created a generation of teenagers who are addicted to nicotine. Alongside that, the suit is accompanied with other allegations against JUUL regarding their marketing plans being targeted to teenagers and a group of teenagers are suing JUUL due to the addictive nature of their products which has led to the addiction amongst the group and other individuals.
A spokesperson from JUUL stated that “while we have not yet reviewed the complaint, we remain focused on … earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials … to combat underage use.”
Before I go on further and talk about JUUL being a giant magnet of controversy, I would like to point out some facts which I have already covered in previous stories regarding the industry in Europe and America. The vape industry in both countries are completely different and SHOULD NOT be compared to each other. In Europe, particularly Ireland manufactures and vendors are meant to abide by legislation by the European Union in regards to the manufacturing, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products. On the 20th of May 2016, the HSE put into action The European Union (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 271 of 2016) which has been enforced onto members of the Vaping Industry. This brings up my first point, we already have regulations which help govern and ensure that the health and safety of the public are looked out for. In addition to that, this prevents vendors or manufactures to take advantage of the industry a.k.a (being a cowboy). In this case, we can see that JUUL is being sued for marketing an electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) towards teenagers and high schoolers. If you were to compare this to the situation and industry in Europe and in particular Ireland, you would not see this happening. As we have age restrictions which are enforced onto the sales of ENDS products to minors.
The Plot Thickens
In addition to these allegations of marketing to teenagers, JUUL Labs, Inc had a lawsuit filed against them last year, for distributing pods which were contaminated. An ex-employee of JUUL Labs, Inc has come out and filed a lawsuit against them for ignoring proper health and safety regulations by selling a million contaminated pods for JUUL devices. Pods are a pre-filled cartridge which a customer can buy for their device. This is where most consumers place their trust into corporations and brand to provide them with a product of the highest quality which is produced in the highest of standards. To be sold a pod which could potentially be contaminated is highly unethical and wrong against the customer and against a standard moral code of business ethics. In a case as such, an open pod system would be much more highly recommended to consumers. An open pod system allows users to fill their devices with their own desired e-liquids and flavours of their choice. This in turn giving consumers the security that they are purchasing a product of guaranteed quality and it also allows them the flexibility to change between a variety of flavours available on the market.
Closed pod systems are sold pre-filled with different flavours and different strength nicotine salts. The lawsuit has been filed against JUUL Labs, Inc, by the former Senior Vice President of Global Finance, Siddharth Breja who worked for JUUL Labs from May 2018 to March 2019. During his employment there Siddharth raised concerns regarding the contaminated pods and several unethical business practices (BuzzFeed,2019).
According to the lawsuit filed against JUUL Labs, Inc – the issue of the contaminated pods was brought to their attention after it was released for marketing. Even though they were aware of it, no recall on the Mint Pods was conducted nor was there a public health and safety statement which was made to make consumers aware of the issue in hand. Even though Juul Labs, Inc allegedly did request for a $7,000,000 million dollar compensation/refund from their e-liquid suppliers Alternative Ingredients, Inc according to the lawsuit filed by Mr Siddharth Breja.
Mr Siddharth Breja, raised concerns regarding the contaminated pods – and the request to withdraw the contaminated pods was refused. During Mr Breja’s weekly meeting with his supervisor Mr Timothy Danaher the CFO and Corporate Secretary of JUUL Labs, Inc. According to the statement by Mr Breja stated that “Mr Danher was angered by Mr Breja’s comments and questioned his financial acumen since both of Mr Breja’s suggestions would lead to billions of dollars in lost sales, a tarnished company image, damage to JUUL’s brand reputation, jeopardizing JUUL’s PMTA (Premarket Tobacco Product Application), and signification reduction in JUUL’s valuation, which would impact Mr Danaher’s and Mr Burns personal net worth, given that they are principally compensated in JUUL stock” (Breja v Juul Lawsuit, 2019).
SO WHY JUUL?
With all this controversy which surround JUUL products and the company JUUL Labs, Inc, does this not warrant asking “WHY BUY JUUL”? In my personal opinion, what JUUL has done is not ethical in any means regardless if they are now sorry and regret whatever decisions that they have made in the past. The problem here is that the damage has already been done, as some reports may quote that “JUUL has fueled the epidemic of nicotine addiction amongst teenagers”. JUUL devices are filled with Nicotine Salts which are entirely different in comparison to Free Base Nicotine. For those who have never used Nicotine Salts or may have never heard the term Nicotine Salts, you may be wondering, ‘What on earth are Nicotine Salts?’.
“Nicotine Salts are created when nicotine base is combined with an acid or multiple acids. This process creates a salt nicotine solution and reduces the throat hit on higher strength nicotine vape juice.”(LiquidNicotineWholesellers,2020)
Just like everything in life, there is pros and cons towards it. Here are some of the pros and cons of using nicotine salts.
✔ Smoother Hit
✔ Faster Absorption Rate
✔ Higher Nicotine Strengths Available
− Overwhelmed by too much nicotine
− Need different device for higher strengths
− More Expensive
You may be wondering where I am going with this argument. Let’s get right to it, so as you can see the use of nicotine salts provides the consumer with a smoother hit (throat hit), faster absorption rate into the bloodstream and it is available in higher nicotine strengths (only outside of the EU). With users who start of vaping on an ENDS device like the JUUL, they are more than likely starting on a relatively high nicotine level, probably even higher then what they actually need – this creates an even bigger problem when the users are NON-SMOKERS. Let’s look at the case of JUUL fuelling an epidemic of nicotine addiction amongst teenagers, if a teenager was to take up using JUUL as a device because it is a ‘trend’, then they are more then likely to start off at a high nicotine level and then build a tolerance towards it. Now add in the faster absorption rate into the mix, this will then cause a user with NO nicotine tolerance to experience what we call a “nicotine rush”. Now imagine a scenario where user A, was to build a tolerance towards said nicotine salt strength, i.e (20mg nicotine salts), and this nicotine strength level is no longer satisfactory for that individual and he/she is looking for that “nicotine rush”, what do you think is going to happen next? That’s it! You guessed it, they are going to go out and purchase a higher strength nicotine salt level.
Back to my beginning statement, JUUL has become the limelight of the Vaping Industry due to their unethical practices. As one article by The New York Times quotes it, “The company’s device, sometimes referred to as the iPhone of e-cigarettes, quickly became fashionable among high school students, and as JUUL picked up market share, it became the focus of numerous federal and state investigations into its advertising and sales practices” (The New York Times,2020). So there is no doubt that JUUL has either knowingly or unknowingly fueled this ‘epidemic’. We strongly believe that such practices should not be allowed in the industry as we are an industry to help defeat addiction as opposed to creating new addicts.
That’s our thoughts! What’s yours?
This post will be updated with more information when available! If you have any information which may be relevant to the article feel free to share it in the comment section. ☺️