JUUL Labs Alters Policies as E-cigarette Usage Reaches All-Time High Among Youth

 UPDATE (Nov. 13, 2018):  JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns released a statement in response to the FDA. JUUL will stop selling mango, fruit, creme and cucumber-flavored pods to more than 90,000 retailers effective today. Those flavors will be available exclusively at juul.com. The company will also restrict underage users on its website with additional protections in its age verification process, it will eliminate its own social media accounts, and it will work to monitor social media promotion from third-party accounts.

As the number of cigarette smokers reached an all time low in 2017, 1 in 5 adults still used tobacco.

A press release from the CDC reported that 42 percent of adults were cigarette smokers in 1964. Now only 14 percent are. Cigarette usage is down, but use of e-cigarettes, like JUUL, is up, especially among young people.

“Since I’ve been working here, I’ve seen a lot more people getting JUULSs,” said Aubrya Myer, a worker at Cloud 9 in downtown Athens.

The FDA called e-cig usage an epidemic. In 2017, more than 2 million middle and high school students were e-cig users. Many e-cigs can be purchased from stores like Cloud 9, but Myers said they don’t sell to minors.

“Everyone that walks in here has to be at least 18 years old. If they’re not, they have to have a valid ID, and if they’re not of age, they cannot be in the shop,” Myers said.

In September, the FDA sent letters to manufacturers demanding plans to prevent youth access. In October, they sent letters to 21 more companies. All of those companies had until Nov. 11 to respond.

In the letter sent to JUUL Labs, the FDA suggested the removal of JUUL flavored pods from the market pending an FDA review. The FDA also suggested manufacturers develop checks on retailers to make sure they are not selling to minors.

While I was in the store, Myers and another employee turned away a customer who tried to use a student ID as proof.

Myers has only worked at Cloud 9 for about eight months, but thinks the simplicity and ease of use makes Juuls appealing.

JUUL says it’s an alternative for adult smokers.

 

Janie Bohlmann is a senior studying journalism.

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