For better or worse, JUUL has become the public face for vaping and e-cigarettes at large. The politicians and nicotine prohibitionists use the company as the boogie man saying that using a vape will lead to actual smoking, which would be the exact opposite stated goal of both JUUL and vaping.
JUUL is the target or inspiration for the heavy handed rhetoric coming from the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb about banning flavored vape juice.
Here is a pretty good representative of the news about Massachusetts AG investigating from MassLive:
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is launching an investigation into JUUL Labs Inc., saying the California-based e-cigarette manufacturer's products are marketed to minors.
Healey said at a time when the rates of lung cancer and teen smoking of traditional cigarettes are declining, e-cigarette companies are aping the tactics of cigarette companies a generation ago, with cartoon characters and TV advertisements, in a bid to get tens of millions of young smokers addicted.
"They're engaged in an effort to get kids addicted, to get them hooked so they will have customers for the rest of their lives," Healey said.
The liquid in vaping pens carries nicotine. Vaping is also known as "juulling."
A 2016 report from the US Surgeon General's Office said that in recent years e-cigarette use has increased 900 percent among American high school students.
Almost 50 percent of high school students in Massachusetts have said they used e-cigarettes at least once, according to a 2015 state survey.
Many of the e-cigarettes or vape pens look like USB flash drives, according to Healey.
One cartridge is equal to one pack of cigarettes. E-cigarettes are "highly addictive and a dangerous combination that shouldn't be anywhere near the brains or the lungs" of young people, Healey said.
A JUUL spokesman said the company has "never marketed to anyone underage."
"We welcome the opportunity to work with the Massachusetts Attorney General because, we too, are committed to preventing underage use of JUUL," Matt David, the spokesman, said in an emailed statement. "We utilize stringent online tools to block attempts by those under the age of 21 from purchasing our products, including unique ID match and age verification technology."
"Stop selling this stuff to young people," Healey said at the press conference.
The investigation comes as a bill sits on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk increasing the purchasing age for tobacco or e-cigarettes to 21 from 18. The bill also bans the use of vape pens and e-cigarettes in the same places smoking is publicly prohibited.
Ugh, "vaping is also known as 'juuling'" says the reporter. Nice job using outdated stats showing a 900% increase from when a few people vaped in 2011 to the height of popularity in 2015 and neglect to include CDC data showing that e-cigarette use has pulled back significantly since.
This whole investigation seems like a complete charade. Investigating JUUL isn't even the point as they haven't been accused of doing anything illegal.
Healey said, "Stop selling this stuff to young people." which is the point. This "investigation" seems like an effort to add pressure on to the governor of that state to sign the bill raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21.
Also the AG got an absolute avalanche of free press as a crusader fighting the new big tobacco ahead of her upcoming re-election later this year.
Nicotine, vape liquids, and e-cigarettes (including tanks and accessories) are only legal to be sold to anyone over the age of 18 to purchase federally (up to 21 in some states). JUUL follows California law and only sells to 21 and over, so did JUUL do anything wrong by following the law?
JUUL Gets Sued Because Nicotine is Addictive
JUUL also has made news lately for getting sued by users of their product is contains nicotine which is addictive, which seems laughable but there it is.
Nicotine being an addictive substance is common knowledge, but there is a huge warning label on the side of the package just in case.
JUUL does in fact have a quite high nicotine content at 59mg/ml due to the use of nicotine salts in the e-juice instead of traditional liquid nicotine. One pod has roughly the same nicotine content as a pack of cigs, so a few puffs would be the same as a cigarette.
From Wired Magazine:
Since April, consumers have filed at least three complaints against Juul. Two of the lawsuits were filed in California and allege Juul deceptively marketed the product as safe, when it contains more potent doses of nicotine than cigarettes. Both seek monetary damages, as well as an injunction to curb Juul’s marketing practices.
In the first case, filed in US District Court in Northern California in late April, Bradley Colgate of La Jolla and Kaytlin McKnight of Arroyo Grande say they first purchased Juul in 2017. The suit claims that McKnight became addicted to nicotine salts and now vapes several Juul pods each week. Colgate purchased Juul to help him quit smoking, according to the suit, but “the intense dosage of nicotine salts delivered by the Juul products resulted in an increased nicotine addiction, and an increased consumption of nicotine by Colgate.”
In the second case, in San Francisco Superior Court, Carl Cooper also says he purchased Juul in hopes of quitting smoking. But Cooper, who the suit says began smoking at the age of 15 in 2010, alleges that Juul worsened his addiction, turning him from someone who mostly smoked on the weekends to a habitual daily user within a couple of weeks. The suit claims Cooper becomes agitated and moody if he doesn’t get regular doses of nicotine salts from Juul pods. “Whereas Cooper had never felt the need to smoke on a daily basis, he now finds that he feels compelled to vape Juul pods every day,” the complaint claims.
The most recent complaint, filed in US District Court in New York in June, came from the mother of a 15-year-old, identified only as “D.P.”, alleging Juul designed its product to contain more nicotine than necessary to satisfy the cravings of an adult smoker. D.P. became “heavily addicted to nicotine,” the suit claims, making him “anxious, highly irritable and prone to angry outbursts,” and perform poorly in school.
The complaint says that D.P. began using Juul after he started a specialized high school in Rockland County, New York offering programs that fit his interest in technology and carpentry. Juul use was pervasive at the school, including on the school bus, in bathrooms, outside school, and even in class, the complaint says. His parents switched him to another high school, but Juul was prevalent there as well. In order to deter his use, the complaint says the teenager’s parents removed the door from his bedroom, locked parts of their house, instructed school officials not to let him use the bathroom unaccompanied, and subjected D.P. to regular urine tests.
“Yet despite all these measures, D.P. is unable to stop Juuling,” the complaint says. His “urges” become so powerful, the complaint says, that “he is unable to avoid Juuling even though it subjects him to disciplinary measures at home and at school.”
Good Lord, that last case sounds like he will be the first person sent to rehab for nicotine addiction.
The other cases seem like they aren't even cases. They essentially read like, "I replaced smoking with JUUL just as advertised."
Personally, I don't use a JUUL but it seems like a way better option than smoking! Have these individuals considered trying another vape product that has less nicotine that isn't JUUL?
JUUL has recently announced lower nicotine content pods and states their products are for people who are already nicotine users and of legal age which is the right policy.
At Vaping Scout, we have the same beliefs. No one should start using nicotine that isn't already addicted and that e-cigarettes are an alternative to smoking cigarettes in an effort to reduce harmful outcomes.
These people, politicians, advocacy groups and even most 'journalists' should really just come out for nicotine prohibition, as that is the real end goal.