What is Juul?
Juul is an electronic cigarette which packages nicotine salts from leaf tobacco into one-time use cartridges. These USB-shaped smoking devices are manufactured by Juul Labs, Inc. based in San Francisco, CA. The Juul smoking device first came into the market in June 2015 by Pax Labs before they spun off into Juul Labs, Inc. in 2017.
Juul Illegal Marketing to Teenagers and Children
JUUL has allegedly marketed their vape products to minors illegally. With a combination of e-mail and social media marketing, JUUL was clearly creating campaigns to reach out to younger smokers. Robert Jackler, who is the principal investigator at Stanford University School of Medicine program which studies the impact of tobacco advertising, has noted that Juul Labs executives have boasted that they run “the most educated company, the most diligent, the most well-researched.”
According to Jackler, JUUL’s website had a stealthy e-mail technique that is attached to their screening process. The website requested all visitors to input their birthday and the last four digits of their social security number. Those who weren’t old enough were denied access but were still added to JUUL’s e-mail list serve. Those rejected minors would then begin to receive promotional e-mail campaigns for new fruity flavors and a discounted starter kit rate of $49.99.
Social Media Campaigns
For those who are unfamiliar with Influencer Marketing, it’s when a company pays an individual or a company to reach out to their followers and endorse a product or service. JUUL hired an advertising agency to identify social media influencers with at least 30,000 followers to “establish a network of creatives to leverage as loyalists” for its brand, according to an internal email at the ad agency.
According to Matthew Myers, the President of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, “there’s nothing more powerful than a young person marketing to young people.” This speaks volumes on social media where millions of users are under the age of 18, where the minimum age to create an Instagram account is 13 and where nearly half of JUUL’s Twitter account followers are under the age of 18.
Results of JUUL’s Successful Underage Marketing
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most smokers are over 25 and taper off by midlife. “If you were designing an ad campaign to hit that target audience, Juul’s is misaligned,” according to tobacco advertising expert, Robert Jackler.
The CDC has also stated that nearly 1 out of every 5 high schoolers in 2018 have used e-cigarettes, which is 80% higher than the previous year. It has even gotten to the point where smoking these e-cigarettes is now referred to as ‘Juuling’. One 15-year-old sophomore began attending a high school where Juuling was rampant. According to court documents, it was “on the school bus, in the bathrooms, outside school and even in class,”
Juul continues to stand by their mission statement: to improve the lives of the world’s 1 billion adult smokers.
However, unlike most smoking-cessation program like patches and gums – which are designed to be used for short stints as smokers work towards kicking their addiction – JUUL’s business model is looking to keep people to use JUUL long term. As research and development engineer Ari Atkins said before the product’s 2015 launch, “we don’t think a lot about addiction here because we’re not trying to design a cessation product at all.”
Juul releases nicotine in 5% formulas which delivers a nicotine peak in about 5 minutes. One Juul pod’s release of nicotine is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes.
The 5% formula is 1.7% higher than what is allowed in Europe so Juul created a 3% formula in compliance but the new formula is only available in tobacco and mint flavors. These are flavors that are most likely to attract cigarette smokers but much less attractive than their more popular fruity flavors – such as fruit medley, crème brûlée, mango and cool cucumber – which attracts a younger audience and first time smokers will all remain at 5%.
JUUL Side Effects
Other than illegally marketing to minors and causing long-term nicotine addiction which is a recognized diagnosable injury there are some immediate life-threatening side effects which JUULs cause such as:
- Heart Problems
- Lung Problems
- Mental Health/Behavioral Problems
Of course there is also the unknown about Juul and what the exposure to the chemicals in its users’ lungs will cause in 20-30 years. We cannot forget the tobacco industry lied for years that inhaling cigarettes was not harmful even after the Surgeon General determined it was very dangerous and caused cancer. In a repeat performance, Juul, which is now in part owned by Altria, which also owns Philip Morris (the maker of Marlboro and all of their brands) claims it causes no harm. We know one thing for sure, it causes addiction and possibly worse.
Contact the Juul Litigation Attorneys at Douglas & London
Douglas & London has experience fighting and winning against big tobacco. If you or a loved one has been addicted to Juul before you were legally able to purchase tobacco, you might be entitled to compensation. Fill out the form on this page or call us at (800) 963-4444 for a free legal consultation. There is no upfront cost and you don’t pay unless we win.