Taking over traditional smoking, Juul’s e-cigarettes have been a favorite controversial topic over the past few years. Despite often claiming to be against children using their products, the company hasn’t done much to prevent that. In fact, Juul has released a myriad of flavored pods – flavors that change the way the smoke tastes – that ensure the sour smoke flavor is muddled. Flavors include fruits such as mango, a creme flavor, and more. However, the company must finally address their actions.
Thanks to a study via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA,) we’ve learned that teen vaping levels have reached the highest they’ve ever been. The group then revealed a 60-day period for e-cigarette makers such as Juul to do something about these record levels.
Today, the company announced that they would be pulling all flavored Juul pods from stores effective immediately. Over 90,000 stores will see change, says CBS. That said, anyone over the age of twenty-one can purchase the recounted flavors on Juul’s website. Mint, tobacco, and menthol flavored pods will still be available in stores.
CEO of Juul Kevin Burns commented on the changes in a statement, claiming that the FDA and his company “share a common goal – preventing youth from initiating on nicotine:”
“We don’t want anyone who doesn’t smoke, or already use nicotine, to use Juul products. We certainly don’t want youth using the product,” he said. “It is bad for public health, and it is bad for our mission.”
While these changes may help, the FDA doesn’t believe they are enough. In a tweet, Commissioner of the FDA Scott Gottlieb said that while they’re being recognized, Juul’s actions are “no substitute for regulatory steps #FDA will soon take.”
According to WIRED, neither defenders of public health or those involved in the vaping industry are enthused with Juul’s plan either. Instead, they believe that Juul’s program is more of a publicity stunt than a genuine care for children’s health.
Fact or Fiction
For example, each of Juul’s changes looks to protect the company’s bottom line instead of out of good intentions. They’re keeping the Mint flavor in stores, which is one of their most popular flavors. Even worse is that stores who agree to Juul’s regulations may be able to sell the banned flavors anyways assuming it’s to customers twenty-one and older.
On top of this, Juul will be getting rid of their U.S.-based Facebook and Instagram social media accounts. Yet, that seems to be against the values of the company. Juul has always claimed their social media to be “different” than other companies and that its popularity is entirely based on others. To support his, a spokesperson for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Vince Willmore, claims that customers “will keep doing the marketing for them through their own posts on Instagram, YouTube, and other social media.”
In addition, Juul’s Twitter and YouTube accounts will remain live. Now, it will only post content aligned with quitting smoking or customer support. It may not matter though, as the companies social media campaigns have been incredibly popular for the past couple of years. Customers already have a vision aligned with Juul’s marketing, and that’s unlikely to change.
Plus, a majority of Juul’s growth comes from younger customers – those who post on social media the most often. FDA information reveals that over two million middle to high-school kids started smoking last year. That number is up seventy-five percent from the year before.
Juul has asked Facebook, Twitter, and others for help in managing “unauthorized, youth-oriented” posts. These companies already have a ton to operate on their own time, however. There’s no telling if that will actually make a difference.