Juul Inc, a dominant player in the e-cigarette or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) market, agreed to pay $438.5 million on September 6 to settle claims by 34 US states and territories that its marketing led to an increase in teen vaping.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong stated, “Juul’s cynically calculated advertising campaigns created a new generation of nicotine addicts.” “They relentlessly marketed vaping products to underage youth, manipulated their chemical composition to make them appealing to inexperienced users, used an insufficient age verification process, and misled consumers about the nicotine content and addictiveness of their products.”
Its marketing and sales practises have been restricted, such as the misrepresentation of nicotine content in its product and the use of paid influencers. An investigation led by the US states of Connecticut, Texas, and Oregon discovered that Juul was able to become the “most dominant player in the e-cigarette market by willfully engaging in a youth-targeted advertising campaign.”
What exactly is an electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS)?
Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products include e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, e-pipes, vapes, and vape pens. They are electric devices that generate an aerosol by heating a liquid that typically contains nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals. While some e-cigarettes resemble traditional cigarettes, others are sleekly designed, often resembling everyday items such as pens or, in the case of Juul, USB drivers.
While ENDS were initially marketed to help smokers quit or as a safer alternative to cigarettes, they have grown in popularity among young people, frequently targeting non-smokers as well. According to data obtained by the Telegraph from the UK’s National Health Service, there has been a steady increase in its use, or “vaping,” by children and teenagers in the country, as they are targeted by companies with “bright packaging, exotic flavours, and enticing names.”
According to the US Centers for Disease Control, while e-cigarettes have the potential to help adult smokers if used as a complete replacement for regular cigarettes, they can also cause harm. apart . In addition to highly addictive nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful substances such as heavy metals and cancer-causing agents.
What are the allegations against Juul?
The slick USB-like Juul e-cigarette, with sweet-fruity flavours like mango and creme brulee, took the ENDS market by storm when it debuted in 2015. According to Wired magazine, Juul Labs, Inc’s annual revenue was around $2 billion in 2018, and the company was valued at $38 billion after accepting a $12.8 billion cash investment from Altria, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies.
Juul’s financial success coincided with the device’s enormous popularity among Western teenagers and young adults. According to Reuters, the use of Juul among 18 to 20-year-olds in the United States more than doubled between 2018 and 2019, and among those aged 21 to 24, it tripled. Juul was widely blamed for sparking a “youth vaping epidemic,” prompting thousands of lawsuits. Following significant backlash, the company announced in 2019 that it would phase out sweet flavours and only sell Virginia tobacco and menthol.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Juul to stop selling e-cigarettes in the US market on June 23, citing “insufficient and conflicting data” about the product’s impact on public health and safety. The following day, Juul received a temporary stay from a US Court of Appeals. According to The New York Times, the FDA temporarily suspended the ban on July 5, stating that it would conduct an additional review of “scientific issues” in the Juul application.