Regulators cracking down on popular vape company JUUL in attempts to curb teen vaping
JUUL e-cigarettes have become particularly popular with teens around the country, with many drawn to the inconspicuous look and high nicotine content. Due to increased usage among teens, the Food and Drug Administration has announced a new campaign to crack down on allowing teens access to the highly addictive e-cigarettes.
Just last month, the FDA began instituting compliance checks with companies who were selling JUUL’s, issuing warnings to over 40 stores across the country that were allegedly allowing minors to purchase them. They also cracked down on eBay, convincing the company to follow stricter age restrictions to help curb the sale of JUUL’s to minors.
In addition, the FDA asked JUUL to hand over any marketing research and other pertinent information in hopes of developing a better understanding of why they have become so popular with teens. FDA officials have stated their concerns over how the JUUL seems to be specifically marketed towards kids, pointing to the variety of vape liquid flavors that can be purchased for it.
The JUUL resembles a flash drive, and its low-profile is hardly something anyone would see and think to be a vape. Along with flavors like Mango, Fruit Medley, and Crème Brulee, the JUUL delivers a more powerful hit of nicotine when compared to other vaping devices.
“As part of the FDA’s responsibility to protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death, these are the first steps in a new effort aimed at stopping youth use of e-cigarettes,” the FDA said in a statement. The statement continues – “Make no mistake. We see the possibility for products like e-cigarettes and other novel forms of nicotine-delivery to provide a potentially less harmful alternative for currently addicted individual adult smokers who still want to get access to satisfying levels of nicotine without many of the harmful effects that come with the combustion of tobacco.”
In response to calls for regulation, JUUL Labs announced that they would be investing $30 million in the next three years to conduct independent research, youth and parent education, and community engagement efforts. The company will also support state and federal initiatives that plan to raise the tobacco-buying age, which we have already seen implemented in California.
JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns said he hopes his company can help over 1 billion smokers across the globe switch to a healthier alternative. He stated, “At the same time, we are committed to deterring young people, as well as adults who do not currently smoke, from using our products. We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try (Juul).”
Some changes taking effect soon will be an overhaul of JUUL’s social media, with plans to remove content displaying or encouraging minors to use a JUUL. The company will also be expanding their secret shopper campaign, and collect more data to give to retailers detailing the dangers of nicotine consumption by teens.
Despite this, these measures are not being seen as satisfactory by organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, who says “History has shown over and over again that voluntary action by tobacco manufacturers doesn’t work.”