JUUL Profits While Kids Pay the Price
By the time top executives of the largest U.S. tobacco companies were hauled in before Congress in 1994, people had been smoking mass-produced cigarettes for nearly 130 years. And though these men, under oath, claimed with straight faces that nicotine wasn’t addictive, we’ve long known better. In 2019, just 16 years after e-cigarettes came onto the market, people are getting sick and dying, and companies like JUUL are facing a tremendous backlash.
And rightly so. One of the groups hardest hit by the JUUL epidemic is adolescents. Despite claims to the contrary, JUUL has targeted these individuals with advertising campaigns straight out of the Big Tobacco playbook. JUUL packaging looks like candy. In some cases, the liquid-nicotine flavor pods used with its devices taste like candy, too. Ads, which have flooded Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, feature young models out, having fun, JUULs in hand. As much as it’s a product, JUUL is portrayed as the embodiment of a lifestyle. It’s fun. It’s cool. And who doesn’t want to have fun and be cool? The strategy’s worked. Since JUUL debuted in 2015, it’s cornered the e-cigarette market. In 2018, JUUL Labs Inc. posted more than $1 billion in revenue, a 400% increase from just one year earlier.
JUUL’s cynical owners and investors have made a fortune while exposing an entire generation to nicotine addiction. JUUL devices are easy to hide and leave a much smaller footprint than that of cigarettes. This means students can vape outside, in the bathroom, even in class, with very little chance of being caught. While not every student is vaping, what is a problem for some becomes a problem for all. And cash-strapped school districts are suffering as a result. It may be a problem of time, as teachers work to catch students up who, for disciplinary reasons, have missed class and have fallen behind. More often, the problem is financial, as school districts work to implement new methods to keep e-cigarettes off campuses and programs to help those dealing with addiction. At a time when school districts across the country are struggling to fund core educational services, all of these problems come with an unwelcome price tag for taxpayers.
While the effects manifest themselves in different ways, the cause is the same. JUUL targeted and took advantage of a vulnerable group of young people and reaped many millions of dollars in profits. While the damage done will take years to repair, the process has already begun in earnest. Fears Nachawati represents school districts that have seen JUUL overtake campuses and harm students. While regulators and politicians debate the issue, the courtroom is the only true recourse these parties have — and the only way to hold corporations accountable for the damage they’ve caused.
We want to hear from you. If JUUL has negatively impacted your school district, send us a message or call us at 1-866-705-7584. Let’s talk about what we can do for you.