Kevin Burns, Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco-based Juul Labs (responsible for creating the Juul e-cig) has issued a formal apology to parents of children who are addicted to their product. The apology comes after a direct investigation from the FDA concerning the current teen vaping epidemic. Since their start in 2015, Juul Labs has grown to a dominating 40 percent of all business in the vaping industry, and promotes their product as a “cleaner” alternative for adult smokers.
Information initially reported by USA Today.
Although the brand in focused on targeting adult smokers, and has recently acquired a $12.8 billion investment from U.S. cig giant Altria, Juul still remains popular with teenagers due to its sleek and simple design, plus its enticing vape flavors such as mango and fruit medley. In a recent federal poll, it was stated that approximately 21 percent of all U.S. high school students vaped last year.
After many years of nose-diving cig sales, many gravely fear that the surge of nicotine use amongst teenagers will re-ignite the nation’s addiction to nicotine. Many people blame Juul for playing a large role in the resurgence of nicotine addiction, including former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
In an interview with CNBC, Burns was asked what he would say to a parent of a teenager who was addicted to his product. He responded, “…I’d tell them that I am sorry that their child’s using the product. It’s not intended for them. I hope there is nothing that we did to make it appealing to them. As a parent of a 16-year-old, I’m sorry for them and I have empathy for them, in terms of what challenges they’re going through.”
Since initially being investigated by the FDA for marketing to younger people, Juul Labs has pulled all of its social media marketing and has removed their more youth-appealing flavors from stores. Now, in order to purchase these flavors, you must go to their website, prove your age, and then have it shipped to your home. Juul hopes that this will discourage younger consumers from using their product and negate the wrong the company feels it is responsible for in the past.
Do you think the apology and changes are enough or does Juul need to take more drastic measure the ensure teens are no longer getting addicted to their products, let us know in the comments below!