Juul targets teens

Pilar Valdes, Art Director

I’m not even going to bother starting this article off by explaining what a JUUL is. This is a high school newspaper, with high school readers; you know what a JUUL is. That’s what’s so worrisome about the phenomenon that is juuling; it’s not always used by adult smokers who are trying to quit smoking. Instead, it’s used by teenagers, because they are marketed towards teenagers.

I know what you’re thinking as you read this page: that the LION is going to regurgitate the same thing that you have read in other newspapers; juuling is bad for you, you are becoming addicted to nicotine, and you are harming your brain by juuling. All of which is true, but that’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is that you, as a teenager, are being used as a pawn for a corporation to make money off of your vulnerability and susceptibility to their advertising techniques.

The makers and owners of Juul Labs, the company behind the now infamous JUUL, are now facing multiple lawsuits and a federal investigation for targeting teens with their product. They claim that their product was only ever intended to be used by adults who were looking to an alternative to smoking cigarettes, but evidence proves otherwise.

When the JUUL was first released, all of the ads featured young people, over 18, but still young, using the product. The New York Times describes the ads as featuring “hip young people, posed flirtatiously holding JUULs.” By using young people in their ads, teenagers are seeing their peers juuling, which instills a pressure on teens to do the same because of their close proximity in age to the models. Whether you think you fall victim to peer pressure or not, you do. Juul Labs have now made a concerted effort to only show recovering cigarette addicts using their products in their advertisements, but this was after their company went from an estimated value of $1.2 billion to almost $16 billion. The damage has already been done.

JUUL also incites teens with pods that have flavors like cool cucumber, mango and mint. The idea is to get a nic buzz without the bad taste of a cigarette. Juul Labs knows that smoking cigarettes is no longer cool, so they make money off giving kids the same feeling as a cigarette with seemingly none of the drawbacks. Juul Labs recognized this trick as well and changed the name of some of their flavors. Cool cucumber is now just cucumber, creme brulee is now just creme: this was their weak attempt of making the flavors seem less appealing to teenagers, but these countermeasures are all too little too late. Teens have already tasted these pods, they know that there isn’t a difference and they’re still going to buy them.

The fact of the matter is that teens are already addicted, and that Juul Labs—and other companies like Sourin and Phix—are making a profit off of this. No matter what their ad campaigns try to do now, their products already have teens hooked.