In response to the House Appropriations Committee calling a hearing on e-cigarettes and Energy and Commerce holding a hearing on the “Youth Tobacco Epidemic,” JUUL announced on October 17, 2019 that it would stop selling fruit and crème flavored pods altogether. The company halted sales of Mango, Cucumber, and Crème in physical stores last year, selling them exclusively online. Tobacco, Virginia Tobacco, Mint, and Menthol are the only remaining JUUL flavors being sold.
Youth vaping has now been declared an epidemic by the US Surgeon General. In an advisory issued in September 2019, he states:
“I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.”
E-cigarettes and vaping devices disrupted the tobacco market in the late 2000s, positioned as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Blu launched in May 2009 and was later purchased by Lorillard Tobacco Company in 2012. VUSE began in June 2013 and is owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. VUSE has 10% of the e-cigarette market. In 2015, JUUL Labs introduced the JUUL e-cigarette and by the end of 2018 it had captured 71% of the vaping market. Moreover, vaping among teens increased 78%. Recent news reports document the dangerous, sometimes fatal, health consequences of JUUL and other e-cigarette use. In April 2018 eleven US senators penned an open letter to JUUL Labs stating that JUUL products are “putting an entire new generation of children at risk of nicotine addiction and other health consequences.” In December 2018, Altria (formerly Phillip Morris) bought 35% of JUUL for $12.8 billion.
Products designed to diminish public health risks associated with smoking, have instead emerged as public health risks for children, teens, and young adults.
The FDA has issued two letters to the CEO of JUUL Labs. In the most recent letter the FDA expresses that they are “troubled” by recent testimony before a Congressional subcommittee which revealed that JUUL engaged in promotional activities and outreach efforts to persuade use of JUUL products by potential customers, including youth.
The FDA letter goes on to say that they are “troubled” by JUUL’s use of nicotine salt e-liquids, which could potentially increase the likelihood of nicotine addiction.
The use of vaping devices (JUUL, VUSE, blu) has been linked to:
- nicotine addiction,
- nicotine poisoning,
- heart attacks,
- breathing problems,
- behavioral problems,
- suicidal thoughts & suicide,
- birth defect and
- pregnancy complications.
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JUUL’S APPEAL TO TEENS
The initial marketing efforts of JUUL Labs were built on social media platforms – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook— with a youthful audience. The Vaporize campaign included images of young adults having fun and using JUUL. The JUUL hashtags added to the popularity. This marketing effort was sustained until 2018.
JUUL’s product design seemed clearly aimed at young adults and teens. The device mimics the look of a USB drive and can be charged in a laptop, making it easily hidden in plain sight in a school setting. Customizable “skins” with colors and patterns can be purchased to personalize the JUUL. The flavors of the e-liquid pods are also attractive to teens: mango, mint, crème, cucumber, fruit, menthol.
WHAT IS IN JUUL PODS?
JUUL vaping liquid cartridges, or pods, contain a proprietary mixture of glycerol, propylene glycol, flavoring, benzoic acid, and 40mg of nicotine (5% strength pods, twice the nicotine found in similar devices). The form of nicotine found in JUUL pods is nicotine salts. Unlike other e-liquids, nicotine salts allow for a higher concentration of nicotine to be delivered to the user in a smoother, more tolerable form. The result is a nicotine blood absorption rate that more closely matches traditional, combustible cigarettes.
Nicotine is known to be a highly addictive substance. It adversely impairs brain and lung development from fetal through adolescent stages. The earlier nicotine is introduced to developing brains, the more likely that person will become a lifelong user and/or sustain harmful effects.
Although positioned as a means for smoking adults to transition to vaping, and therefore, a wellness product, in reality vaping is linked to seizures, respiratory illness, coughs, sore throat, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
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WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Contact Davis & Crump if you or a loved one has experienced nicotine addiction, nicotine poisoning, or other injury due to JUUL, VUSE, or blu. There is no risk to you and there are no fees unless we recover money for you.
Fill out a free claim evaluation or call us at 1-800-277-0300 to get started.