Juul pays millions to target youth in marketing +2023

On December 7, Juul Labs announced that it had agreed to settle approximately 5,000 lawsuits involving approximately 10,000 plaintiffs for an undisclosed sum in a Northern California court case. per The New York Times. The cases all concern the sale and marketing of Juuls e-cigarettes to teenagers. This news comes after Juul’s settlement on September 6th $438.5 million in a two-year survey of its marketing practices conducted jointly by 33 states.

As part of the settlements, the vape company will end marketing practices the investigation found targeting youth, including funding educational programs in schools and advertising on social media. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong accused the company of engaging in “predatory marketing.” Wall Street Journal.

According to Sarah R. London, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, these settlements will provide victims and their families with “significant” compensation, provide funding for school programs, and ultimately prevent the use of e-cigarettes in the US “Suits is tremendous,” said London in a statement.

Juul is also striving to move forward. A spokesman for the company said the settlements are a step forward to “secure the company’s path to fulfilling its mission to move adult smokers away from combustible cigarettes while tackling underage use.”

Prior to these lawsuits, Juul was also hit with a sales ban from the FDA. On June 23rd issued by the FDA “Marketing Denial Orders (MDOs) to JUUL Labs Inc. for all of their [Juul] Products currently marketed in the United States,” adding that “the products currently on the US market must be removed or risk enforcement action.” However, the ban was suspended two weeks later to pending the marketing application by Juul to check further.

With all the controversy surrounding the products, what exactly has made Juul so popular in the first place? Put simply, it’s “just cool,” says Stanton Glantz, PhD, a medical professor and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Research Control and Education, who has published several studies on the effects of e-cigarettes. “It looks like a flash drive. It’s high tech and fun.” E-cigarettes also don’t look like cigarettes, meaning they don’t typically carry the same negative stigma.

Vaping, also known as smoking e-cigarettes, has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among teenagers for whom e-cigarettes are illegal. And while the overall number of tobacco users among teenagers in the US is declining, smoking e-cigarettes remains the most popular tobacco product among the age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Although e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they are still referred to as “tobacco products”). the ultra-popular Juul, which primarily attracted teenagers with its sweet flavors (like mango and creme brulee), easy-to-inhale vapors, and sophisticated marketing campaigns.

The market around Juul and other e-cigarettes is sure to change as new FDA bans and recent Juul lawsuits come into effect. But before we get into that, let’s talk about why vaping, especially among minors, has become such a problem in the first place.

What is vaping?

Vaping is the same as smoking an e-cigarette. (You can also vape cannabis, but we’ll focus on the tobacco product in this article.) The name gives you a clue as to how it works. Regular cigarettes burn tobacco and produce smoke that the user inhales. E-cigarettes, on the other hand, do not burn anything. The technology consists of what Dr. Glantz describes it wrapped around a wick (similar to a candle wick). This contraption is soaked in a liquid, “usually propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings, and nicotine,” says Dr. shinyz. By inhaling, you heat the coil around the saturated wick. This creates a vapor of ultrafine particles, including nicotine, which you inhale into your lungs.

In other words, when you smoke, you breathe in smoke. When you vape, you inhale a vapor. “Both cigarettes and e-cigarettes create these aerosols of ultrafine particles to give you a hard hit of nicotine,” explains Dr. Glantz, but the distinction between burning and vaporizing is crucial.

Is vaping bad for you?

The hope for e-cigarettes was that by inhaling vapor instead of tobacco smoke, you wouldn’t be exposed to the same toxic, carcinogenic substances that are produced when tobacco is burned. And to a certain extent, says Dr. Glantz on POPSUGAR, that’s right. In a series of studies that measured toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, “the levels in an e-cigarette are much lower than in a cigarette,” he explains. “So that’s the good news.”

The bad news? The vapor and particles you inhale from e-cigarettes are dangerous in and of themselves, says Dr. Glantz, and damage your arteries, lungs and heart. “From what we know so far, e-cigarettes are almost as bad as cigarettes in terms of heart and lung disease risk.”

Research, mostly focused on teenagers, supports the fact that vaping does pose health risks. A 2017 study showed that high schoolers vape symptoms of chronic bronchitis are more likely to occur, which include shortness of breath and coughing up phlegm. Research in South Korea in 2016 found a Association between vaping and asthma symptoms. A Study 2020 also found that young people who vape are more likely to contract COVID-19, and celebrities such as Doja Cat have even publicly sworn off vaping due to its health effects.

Studies on the long-term effects of vaping, including a link to cancer risk, will by definition take more time. But the cardiovascular risks are already being seen, says Dr. Glantz to POPSUGAR. In fact, he says, vaping’s vascular consequences “occur within a few puffs.”

The consensus is that e-cigarettes aren’t as bad as cigarettes, but that doesn’t make them “good” for you or a healthy product. The overall effect of vaping “is to increase the risks and make the tobacco epidemic worse,” says Dr. shinyz.

Is vaping addictive?

Another difference between smoking and vaping, especially with Juul, is the nicotine content. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical compound that comes from tobacco plants but is also used in e-cigarettes, including Juul the FDA. The nicotine aerosol you inhale from cigarettes “is quite alkaline, so it’s difficult to inhale,” explains Dr. shinyz. It triggers a gag reflex that makes you cough and choke if you’re not used to it. Juul products, on the other hand, contain an altered form of nicotine that is more neutral, less alkaline and easier to inhale. Previously, Juul also flavored its products to make them sweet and further mask the bitterness of the chemicals. (In 2020, the The FDA has banned e-cigarette companies selling sweet and minty flavors that appealed to minors; however, Companies found loopholes which allowed them to continue selling flavored products until recently.)

The gentle inhalation and previously delicious flavors made it possible for e-cigarettes to deliver “a much higher dose of nicotine per puff than a traditional cigarette,” says Dr. Glantz to POPSUGAR. “And that means you could become addicted a lot quicker.”

Starting vaping as a teenager not only puts you at risk of developing an addiction, but also multiplies the likelihood that a cigarette habit will follow. A study published in the JAMA Network Open in February 2019 confirmed this, showing that children who used e-cigarettes did so four times more likely to try a regular cigarette than those who had never vaped before.

It is worth noting that e-cigarettes are also being promoted as a smoking cessation strategy, but as of 2020 the CDC reports that “currently there is insufficient evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes generally promote smoking cessation”. There is evidence that “use of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine is associated with increased smoking cessation compared to use of e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine,” the CDC adds, and that “a more frequent E-cigarette use is associated with an increase in smoking cessation compared to less frequent e-cigarette use.” In both cases, the CDC notes that the evidence is “enlightening but insufficient” to draw a firm conclusion.

Is Juul officially banned?

Not yet. The FDA ordered Juul to stop selling e-cigarettes on June 23, but has since suspended that order, allowing the company to keep its products on the market.

The brand had already stopped selling its fruity flavors in 2019 (before the FDA banned such products) and scaled back its advertising campaigns, which appeared to be aimed at young people, as its sales fell as a result. It applied for approval to sell its tobacco and menthol flavored products in the United States. (Tobacco-flavored products from other e-cigarette companies such as Reynolds American Inc. and NJOY Holdings Inc. were approved for sale, and in 2021 the Vuse Solo became the first FDA-approved e-cigarette.)

After the administrative stay is granted, the FDA will continue to review the company’s application to remain on the market. It initially ruled that Juul had provided “insufficient evidence to evaluate the potential toxicological risks of using JUUL’s products.” Other than that, the ban (if made official) only applies to the commercial distribution, importation and retail sale of these products. “The FDA cannot and will not take action against individual consumers’ possession or use of JUUL products or other tobacco products,” read the FDA’s original statement. But regulators still think a ban is a step in the right direction.

It is clear that restrictions have an impact. Since sweet and minty flavored e-cigarettes were phased out and the legal age to buy e-cigarettes was raised to 21, Underage vaping has declined in the US. According to that 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey11.3 percent of high school students reported currently vaping, over eight percent down from 2020 and a sharp decrease from the 27.5 percent who reported vaping in 2019.

Additionally, the recent Juul agreement has raised hopes among lawmakers that e-cigarette use among youth will be restricted. “They won’t target young people and children, and that’s a big step forward,” Tong said.

– Additional reporting by Melanie Whyte

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