Juul Labs has come under scrutiny by a number of advocacy groups who claim that Juul’s advertising campaign is aimed towards teens. The advocacy groups cite the use of bright colors and youthful imagery, paired with fruity flavors offered by Juul as evidence of an effort to target the youth market.
However, the bright colors and fruity flavors belie a more insidious truth – that Juul, like traditional tobacco companies before it, is targeting an addictive product at America’s youth in order to assure a steady stream of customers – and profit – well into the future.
Juul uses a special nicotine formulation directly derived from decades of research by cigarette companies seeking to create and foster addiction. The formulation uses a combination of nicotine salts and benzoic acid to deliver a dose of nicotine with effects far stronger than traditional cigarettes. This extra nicotine kick is combined with two other features which make Juul e-cigarettes particularly enticing to kids: 1) the product comes in enticing flavors such as fruit medley and crème brulee which get rid of the “bad” taste of traditional cigarettes, and 2) a small, easily concealable design.
Despite its relatively short time on the market (just over four years) a recent study of more that 1,000 12 to 17-year-olds found that 6.5% admitted to using a Juul e-cigarette. This troubling trend has not come about by accident. In June 2015, when the Juul e-cigarette was first released, the product launch was accompanied by a massive advertising campaign, including a full spread in Vice magazine, a publication which touts itself as the “#1 youth media in the world”. In addition, Juul began to heavily market its product on social media platforms frequented by America’s youth, such as Instagram and Twitter.
Although framed as a safer alternative to smoking, Defendants’ JUUL e-cigarettes and JUUL pods still pose serious health risks to teenage users. According to a 2016 report of the United States Surgeon General, E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, besides nicotine addiction itself, the nicotine in JUULs and other e-cigarettes negatively influences adolescent brain development, specifically impairing cognitive, attention, and memory processes and increasing the risk of anxiety disorders and depression.
If you or a loved one know of a young adult who has become addicted to Juul e-cigarettes, please contact our offices for a free case consultation.