How e-cigarette companies are scamming kids, and why it’s working

By: Gwyneth Theobald ’21

For about five years, vaping has been used to get adults off smoking and is seen by teens as a “healthier” alternative. Now, a new and more sleek and subtle version of the vape called the Juul is becoming more and more popular for underage consumers. Flavors like fruit medley or mango are specifically targeted to teens. Although Juul claims that their market is strictly 21 and older, juuling in schools is still largely prevalent.

One pod — or 200 puffs — is actually worth one pack of cigarettes. Each pod contains 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid, which is three times the amount of nicotine permitted in the European Union. Juul vaporized a liquid that contains nicotine salts which make the nicotine absorb into the body as fast as regular cigarettes. The nicotine salts hurt less than cigarette smoke and transfer more smoothly into the body than the average cigarette.The comfort and ease of using the Juul over a cigarette is especially appealing to teens.

Many teens have become physically dependent on nicotine and have begun to use Juul compulsively. But, although students continue to learn about the consequences of juuling, they continue to use the Juul as a trendy pass time. The reason? Marketing. Juul continues to send out warnings on their website about the age limit being 21 or over. Although they continue to send out these warnings, they continue to use marketing teqniques that appeal to a younger audience. In fact, The Washington Post reports that “The sales campaigns for Juuls — now hugely popular with teenagers across the nation — are at the heart of a federal investigation…”. The investigation is over whether Juul’s marketing lures a younger audience into using their product.

The FDA has “put their foot down” on e-cigarette companies, specifically Juul. Last April, the FDA has begun a Youth Tobacco Prevetion Plan to make e-cigarette products less accessible to teens. eBay has even begun to ban these products being sold on their website, in hopes of not selling to any underage consumers. Dr. Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner, offered e-cigarette companies a five-year extension that allowed them to prove that e-cigarettes are truly better for you then the traditional cigarette. Although Gottlieb allowed the e-cigarette companies a chance to prove themselves, they claimed that these regulations would not allow them to introduce new products that would help get adults off smoking.

The Juul pod flavors are the most well known marketing teqnique. Flavors that resemble bubblegum or well-known candies lure teens into wanting to try the wide range of flavors. The Juul flavors combined with the young-looking marketing adverts in magazines and online point to a disturbing truth of the people that are behind these companies, and what is to come for youth in the future.

One comment to “How e-cigarette companies are scamming kids, and why it’s working”

Leave a Reply