Juul's future looks hazy after making a deal with the Marlboro man

It is Tuesday, January 29, 2019. In case you forgot.
vape nation

Juul is the latest tech company turned verb

Between announcing a near 800% increase in sales and taking a $12.8 billion investment from the Marlboro man, Juul Labs, maker of the wildly popular e-cigarette-disguised-as-a-flash-drive, had quite the banner year in 2018.

Juul is branded as a healthier replacement for the one billion adults who smoke cigarettes (which it very well could be). However, the brand has run into trouble with regulators who are alarmed by teen usage of the product.

Puff? Nah, Pass

Over the last two decades, concerted efforts by the US government, nonprofits, advocacy groups, medical experts, schools, and parents have all but eliminated teen smoking.
While there are fewer high school seniors than ever smoking cigarettes, the decline has been offset by the rise of vaping (Juul represents 68% of the e-cig market) -- over 25% of 12th graders are now vaping.

FDA's new Juul rules

The FDA and Juul first clashed in September 2018 when the FDA gave the major e-cigarette companies 60 days to prove that they could prevent their products from being sold to minors. Unhappy with Juul’s response, in November the FDA ordered Juul to remove all flavored pods from stores.

While Juul Labs denies ever targeting young non-smokers, a recent study from Stanford University says otherwise. Vox shared examples of advertisements and social media campaigns from the study and it’s hard to argue they’re meant for current smokers looking to kick the habit. Juul has since shut down its US-based social media accounts.

The company that set out to disrupt the big-tobacco industry is now firmly in bed with it, Axios reported that internal messages from Juul employees called the Altria funding a “deal with the devil.”
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Zac Cherin
Brendan Uyeshiro
Brendan Uyeshiro