SAN FRANCISCO, C.A. — A study authored by researchers from Stanford University proves that Juul Labs, Inc., the most-widely recognizable — and most profitable — e-cigarette company in the U.S. targeted children. The Los Angeles Times reported Juul Labs found great success cultivating a very young client base with targeted advertising designed to convince teenagers to start vaping. Juul Labs said that it has tried to keep children away from its products, despite what researchers found.
Researchers say that found plenty of strong evidence to suggest that Juul Labs targeted teens and young adults to try their products. Juul did this by promoting its brand with sleek wording and imagery with which a young adult could relate starting in 2015. As regulatory pressure mounted, Juul backed off overtly marketing to young adults. However, the company maintained a strong social media presence until November of 2018 when the company stopped social media marketing. By that time, Juul Labs had brand recognition and momentum on its side. References to Juul in social media, indicated as #Juul, doubled after the company pulled out of social media.
One of the leaders of the study from Stanford University’s Medical School accused Juul of marketing directly to children, a claim that Juul adamantly denies. A spokesperson for Juul said that it never marketed to kids and it never will. Juul said that its advertising campaign shows adults who used Juul e-cigarettes to cease smoking combustible cigarettes and did not try to exploit younger adults. Despite Juul’s claims to the contrary, the number of teens vaping increased dramatically from 2017 to 2018. The jump was the largest jump in 43 years of age substance for that age group.
Experts say that the long-term effects of vaping are unknown and must be watched closely. They also say that Juul uniquely positioned itself in a market in which smoking was down but took advantage of a teen’s need to explore and try different things, including smoking. Smoking initiation happens as a teenager. Very few people start smoking if they never smoked as a teen.
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