Juul Labs (you’ve probably heard of them) produce small nicotine vapes to help adult smokers eliminate cigarettes. While other nicotine vapes are on the market, Juul, specifically, seems to appeal to people like you and me. I, for one, see them all over campus, and many of my friends own one.
The FDA recently sent a warning letter to Juul regarding the statements they are making about their product. Juul is accused of illegally marketing their product as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. Without any scientific evidence to prove this claim, regulators have cracked down and people are getting worried.
With marketing and sales practices targeted towards people our age (and younger), featuring social media ads full of bright colors and a “cool vibe,” Juul claims that this was never their intention. However, Juul canbe partially blamed for the nationwide vaping epidemic among America’s youth. Did you know that people our age, statistically, were never supposed to start smoking cigarettes? That is, until Juul came along.
Not much is known about the long-term health effects of these vape products, making the 450 illnesses and 6 deaths related to vaping a scary situation. I’ve asked all my friends to tryquitting, but it’s clear many students and young adults are already addicted.
So how did Juul make these decisions that eventually affected consumers, society, cigarette companies, the FDA, families, schools and even those closest to us? Outside pressures, including sources of revenue for the brand, likely influenced where ads were placed, as well the target audience. If a certain age group makes up the majority of your profit, would you risk losing that money”?
Political pressures are influencing Juul’s current decisions while under close watch of the nation, as the Trump administration, the FDA and the CDC continue to take action, investigate the matter and put bans in place.
Even though the purpose of Juul (to wean adult smokers off of cigarettes) has proven to be successful, the other consequences — deaths, illness, a nationwide epidemic — all seem to outweigh any good the brand has contributed to society. What could Juul have done differently? Will they be able to turn this situation around and act ethically in the future?