Juul Pod Flavors

On November 13th, Juul announced that it was suspending sales of most Juul pod flavors sold in stores, shutting down social media promotions, and tightening online sales accessibility to minors.

This action was in response to pressure from the FDA stemming from the September 12 ultimatum to prove they could keep their products away from Kids or face severe penalties.

The Investigation

In September, the FDA requested five major e-cigarette manufacturers, including Juul, to explain how they plan to combat the use of their products by minors. The FDA said it was looking into potential steps to eliminate the sale of flavored products.

Juul’s response to pressure from the FDA suggests a significant sign of retrenchment by an industry that claims to have set out to offer devices to help smokers quit but now shoulders blame for a new public health problem: nicotine addiction among nonsmoking Teens.

“Our intent was never to have youth use Juul products. But intent is not enough, the numbers are what matter, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem. We must solve it,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement.

But critics and public health advocates said the company had no choice, especially after the FDA seized documents related to marketing strategies from the company’s headquarters in October. Meanwhile, some states were also investigating whether its tactics were directly aimed at minors.

“We’re deeply concerned about the epidemic of youth use of e-cigs. Voluntary action is no substitute for regulatory steps that the FDA will soon take,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Director.

An agency official told USA TODAY last month that the FDA plans to ban convenience store and gas station sales of e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco, mint and menthol. Stricter age-verification requirements are also planned for online sales of e-cigarettes.

The Problem

According to Dr. Rachel Boykan of Stoney Brook University School of Medicine, “Nicotine may disrupt the formation of circuits in the brain that control attention and learning, And there is a higher risk of Teens subsequently becoming tobacco smokers.”

The crux of the problem centers on what nicotine does to the teen brain. It is especially damaging in an area called the prefrontal cortex, which plays a key role in emotional control, decision-making, and impulse regulation.

Nicotine is a lifelong burden. Vape manufacturers have their hands in your pocket, distracting your thought process while continuously endangering Teens health as well as to endanger the development of critical thinking skills. .

Caroline Renzulli, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called Juul’s announcement too little too late. “Juul’s social media marketing fueled its popularity with kids,” she said. “Now that it has captured 75 percent of the e-cigarette market, Juul no longer needs to do social media marketing because its young customers are doing it for them.”

By now, students have their own vocabulary built around Juul — “juuling” has become a verb.

Students began juuling as teachers’ backs were turned. They filled school bathrooms for juuling breaks. And it appeared to  school officials that students were just diligently recharging flash drives on laptops.

Nicotine, the naturally occurring chemical in tobacco, is the addictive element that binds smokers to cigarettes and vapors to Juul and other e-cigarettes. Teenagers, whose brains are still developing, need less exposure to nicotine than adults in order to become addicted.

The Crackdown

Maura Healey, the attorney general for Massachusetts, echoed that sentiment. “Unfortunately, much of the damage has already been done,” she said. “Our investigation into Juul’s practices, including if it was knowingly selling and marketing its products to young people, will continue.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA said: “Voluntary action is no substitute for regulatory steps the FDA will soon take. But we want to recognize actions by Juul today and urge all manufacturers to immediately implement steps to start reversing these trends.”

Under Juul’s plan, the sale of tobacco, mint and menthol flavored products would continue in retail stores. Juul said those products “mirror what is currently available for combustible cigarettes”.

To prevent some users from reverting to menthol cigarettes, Juul said it would keep mint Juul pods as well as tobacco and menthol flavors for its devices in retail stores.

Moving Forward

In August, Gottlieb told USA TODAY that the FDA was weighing the benefits of e-cigarettes in helping adults quit smoking against the risk to young people who become addicted to tobacco through vaping.

Many Smokers prefer flavored e-liquid when they are trying to quit smoking, but Gottlieb said that he was prepared to make vaping less attractive to adults if it reduces the harm to Teens.

Dr. Gottlieb also said the agency could target “cartridge-based products,” such as the USB-sized Juul, which is favored by teenagers and sold in convenience stores. Adults tend to use bulkier “open tank” vaping products, he said.

JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns said the company “will work proactively with FDA in response to its request.”

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14 Replies to “Juul Pod Flavors”

  1. Congratulations for such a great article. I’m a middle/high school teacher and at the high school level, I have seen so many students using these e-cigarettes and in fact we have a policy that vaping is prohibited on school grounds. As you state on your post, these products are attractive to teens and that’s dangerous.

    My sister is trying to quit smoking and she is now using them. I’m not sure how efficient that can be but I know that she says that it’s helping her. I just wish that she didn’t do either.

    Please, keep creating important and valuable content like this one!

    1. Hi Victor,

      Thanks for your comments and encouragement.

      Your sister is not actually quitting smoking, she is engaging in Harm Reduction. That means that she is consuming far less carcinogens, but she is not addressing the true problem. She is not addressing the nicotine addiction. 

      Stopping smoking means stopping nicotine. 

      The other problem with ‘Harm Reduction” is that the levels of nicotine are generally much higher than in cigarettes, therefore having the effect of driving the addiction deeper and making future attempts to actually quit smoking  harder, if not impossible.

      These are the reasons that I do not endorse Vaping. Total abstinence is best.

      Best wishes, John

  2. I think most vape-related products have the same problems these days – the youth will always find a way to purchase them, especially if they venture online to purchase them. It’s a shame that so many of these companies, that really do help people quit the habit, are having to re-think their direction in this way. 

    At the end of the day nicotine is a poison, and many of these products contain high levels of it, regardless of their aim to help people quit. We really don’t want youngsters putting it in their bodies and creating habits. 

    An interesting article, and an eye-opener really. 

    1. Hi Chris,

      I agree with you that despite regulations, kids will still find a way to get the stuff.

      Those same companies that promote harm reduction rather than quitting are the very same companies who intentionally targeted the kids. 

      I, for one, am pleased that they are being forced to rethink their position because for every Smoker that they “Help”, several Teens get started on a new addiction making the net health benefit a negative one overall.

      Complete abstinence is best and very achievable.

      John

  3. I have a Son who smokes and he is trying to quit and was thinking of using e-cigarettes as a way to help him to but from reading this article I see that he should opt for another solution than the e-cigarettes especially if the brain is affected and teens find it hard to control attention and Learning.

    This is a serious issue and it’s my prayer that my Son quits and he never uses the e-cigarrettes.   Great article with amazing information.  Thanks

    1. Hi Cinderella,

      The harm to the health and brain development of the kids is overlooked in the hype around vaping. It is further complicated for the kids by insistence by Vapers that vaping is “Safe”.

      My problem is the misdirection of the kids by lack of a more responsible approach and evaluation by people who have successfully used vaping to reduce harm rather than to actually quit smoking.

      Your son may also benefit from this article, or this one as well.

      Best wishes, John 

  4. It’s really hard when it comes to trying to stop smoking. I never smoked but everyone else did.

    I don’t think that anything that helps with quitting should be banned.

    Juuls sounds like it’s a product that is very beneficial for smokers to quit.

    I’m shocked that this product can create a nicotine addiction among teens who don’t smoke? I’m wondering how that’s possible.

    The bottom line is that everyone should be healthy and whatever works best for quitting smoking should continue to do so.

    1. Hi Rob,

      It isn’t vaping that is being banned, it is the products that are aimed at getting kids hooked that is under fire. If you look at the title of this article, it is about the flavorings intended to be attractive to kids.

      Adult Smokers looking for ‘Harm Reduction’ rather than actually quitting smoking can still buy the products.

      Best wishes.

  5. Hi. The article is very comprehensive, as the people can be sensible related to the risk of smoking or other derivatives. Electronic cigarettes are just substitute elements, but in my opinion those cannot quit smoking. The best way is, as you described inside, is to be enough transparent on regard to the healthy risks that the cigarette might cause. The consumer has to choose, to buy it or not. Best regards

    1. Hi Leo !

      I agree with you that people need to be properly educated on their alternatives without the false hype that vaping is “quitting” smoking. Vaping is being falsely promoted as a “Health and Wellness” product.

      The truthful approach by the FDA should go a long way in the right direction.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      John

  6. Good afternoon John,

    For once the FDA seems to be doing the correct thing. The prohibition of selling e-cigarettes to people younger than 18 years. I am not a fan of the FDA as I have seen the crazy and interest based decisions they have made. For me that the FDA approves or not is not a standard I accept, if it is of interest to me I will investigat further and deeper.

    I luckily stopped smoking just before Christmas 2015 and do not regret it. It is not the tobacco as such, it is the additives, more than 200, which are the problem. They even put licorice and as I love that you have probably the reason why I smoked. 

    The fact young people cannot get a hold of e-cigarettes anymore directly is ofcourse good as they are extremely bad for your health.

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Hello Taetske,

      The FDA authority and responsibilities have a very wide scope. Having said that, there would probably be some decisions that they have made that almost anyone (including myself) could probably find fault with if we looked deeply enough.

      In this case, I applaud the FDA for addressing this issue as the true health crisis that it is. For every Smoker that turns to vaping to “Quit smoking”, there are even more Teens that get hooked that otherwise would never have smoked anything at all.

      Therefore, on balance, I believe that vaping (overall) does much more harm than good in our society.

      Congratulations on stopping smoking!

      John

  7. While vaping is better than smoking (I believe, we’ll see what the studies say), it is still a problem. More of an issue is teenagers that start vaping when they are young and become dependent. Either way it boils down to nicotine dependence, if you’re vaping or using tobacco – it’s the same idea. Hopefully users of Juul can transition without issue to a healthier alternative!

    1. Hi Dave,

      You are correct when you say it all boils down to nicotine addiction.

      While it is not my own hope that Juul users find another alternative, my hope is that they free themselves and break the nicotine addiction entirely. 

      Thanks for your input !

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