New Investigative Report Claims Juul Knew Early On Teens Would Get Addicted To Their E-Cigarettes, Did Nothing
With the vaping illness crisis showing little sign of slowing down in America, Reuters Investigates has uncovered some disturbing business practices allegedly undertaken by popular e-cigarette company Juul.
According to a new report, written by Chris Kirkham, which details the very in-depth investigation, “Juul executives knew young people were flocking to its breakthrough e-cigarette shortly after it went on sale in 2015, a former manager tells Reuters. Its nicotine blend was so potent, engineers devised a kill switch to limit the dosage – but the idea was shelved.”
During the testing phase of Juul’s e-cigarettes, the company was reportedly aware of the the possibility that their product could deliver too much nicotine, too quickly, but decided against producing an e-cigarette that limited a user’s nicotine intake.
“You hope that they get what they want, and they stop,” said former Juul scientist Chenyue Xing. “We didn’t want to introduce a new product with a stronger addictive power.”
Congressional investigators, state attorneys general and health advocates have so far focused on whether Juul targeted young people through its marketing and the dessert-like flavors of some Juul nicotine liquids, such as creme brulee or mango. But a Reuters investigation has found that, from the company’s earliest days, insiders discussed and debated concerns over more fundamental attributes of the product: its potency and addictiveness.
The breakthrough “nicotine salts” formula that made the Juul e-cigarette so addictive – and ignited the company’s explosive market-share growth – made Juul especially attractive to teenagers and other new users who otherwise would never have smoked cigarettes, according to interviews with more than a dozen tobacco researchers, pediatricians, and a Reuters review of Juul patents and independent research on nicotine chemistry. The device delivers the drug more efficiently than a cigarette, according to emerging academic research into Juul’s formula and the company’s own patent documents.
A former manager at Juul claims that immediately after Juul’s device went on sale in 2015, the company was well-aware of its appeal to teenagers.
Juul founder James Monsees reportedly wanted to enact immediate measures to curb Juul’s sales to teens, but other company directors disagreed.
They argued the company couldn’t be blamed for youth nicotine addiction because it did not intentionally advertise or sell to teens, said the manager, who had direct knowledge of the internal discussions.
“Clearly, people internally had an issue with it,” the manager said, referring to sales of Juuls to teenagers. “But a lot of people had no problem with 500 percent year-over-year growth.”
Company leaders also clearly understood the long-term benefit of young users on its bottom line, the manager said. It was well-known that young customers were “the most profitable segment in the history of the tobacco industry” because research shows that nicotine users who start as teenagers are the most likely to become lifelong addicts.
On September 11, the Trump Administration announced that it was officially be moving forward with a proposed ban on flavored vaping products, such as those sold by Juul, which have been linked to the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses.
Read the entire report over at Reuters.com.
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