At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Wednesday, Juul Labs co-founder and chief product officer James Monsees addressed the PR-embattled status of the e-cigarette brand, discussing the company’s ethics when it comes to marketing their nicotine-laden product to adult smokers rather than teens.
PAX Labs, the start-up behind Juul, is being investigated by the F.D.A. so it can be determined whether the company intentionally marketed their product to adolescents, reported The New York Times last week.
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Juuls have been adopted en masse by teenagers and pre-teens, who effectively turned the practice of vaping into a meme. As opposed to smoking, “Juuling” provides a decidedly millennial-centric relaxation method. The charge lasts forever, so you can essentially Juul all day long without contending with the foul odor of cigarettes. The question the F.D.A. is trying to answer is whether PAX Labs deliberately worked to appeal to this impressionable market.
“Juuling and scrolling through Instagram offer strikingly similar forms of contemporary pleasure,” Jia Tolentino wrote in The New Yorker. “Both provide stimulus when you’re tired and fidgety, and both tend to become mindless tics that fit neatly into rapidly diminishing amounts of free time.”
“If you were to design your ideal nicotine-delivery device to addict large numbers of United States kids, you’d invent Juul,” Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, told Tolentino. “It’s absolutely unconscionable. The earlier these companies introduce the product to the developing brain, the better the chance they have a lifelong user.”
September 5, 2018