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  • If you don't look carefully

  • though, you might miss what it's advertising.

  • It's this little thing and

  • it's called:

  • Juul, Juul, Juul

  • looks more like a flash drive or computer device but it is

  • really another kind of e-cigarette.

  • Since it launched in 2015

  • Juul has taken over about 70% of the e-cigarette retail market share. It's now

  • worth about 16 billion dollars. And that success is often attributed to its sleek

  • design, but the same features that make Juul a well-engineered product also

  • make it attractive to young people, many of whom have never smoked before and

  • that has people worried because devices like Juul might be designed to help

  • smokers get off cigarettes, but they're also addicting a new generation to

  • nicotine.

  • So what makes this one e-cigarette so different from the rest?

  • Answering that question starts with what you see on the outside. Juul is an

  • e-cigarette, but it really doesn't look like one. It looks like a tech product

  • and it's tiny. That allows smokers to get a nicotine fix without having to worry

  • about social stigma, but also allows young users to consume nicotine

  • inconspicuously without having to worry about who sees them.

  • Going to school

  • having this in your pocket is a lot better than having like something this

  • big, that looks kind of like a lightsaber, you know? You could kind of Juul

  • anywhere in discreteness.

  • That discreteness is a big shift for

  • e-cigarettes. Since the first patent in 1930 designs haven't been very subtle.

  • The first generation of e-cigarettes mimicked the shape size and colors of

  • traditional cigarettes, sometimes even with a fake light-up tip. The second and

  • third generations focused on larger and more customizable devices, with longer

  • battery life and big plumes of vapor.

  • Then came the Juul, a stripped-down

  • version with no buttons, no big plumes of vapor, and no complex refilling or

  • recharging and it comes in a variety of bright colors that set it apart from

  • other e-cigarettes. Which made it look like a tech product that young people

  • were already familiar with.

  • That is why people called Juul the "iPhone of e-cigs."

  • And that similarity makes sense. Juul's founders met at Stanford design

  • school and one worked as a design engineer at Apple.

  • They created the first e-cigarette that looked more like a cool

  • gadget and less like a drug delivery device.

  • This wasn't smoking or vaping, it

  • was Juuling.

  • Yeah like how grandma's have iPhones now, it's kind of like normal.

  • Kids have Juuls now, because it looks so modern. We kind of trust modern

  • stuff a little bit more, so we're like we can use it we're not gonna have any

  • trouble with it, because you can trust it.

  • The tech aspect definitely helps

  • people get introduced to it and then once they're introduced to it

  • they're staying, because they're conditioned to like all these different

  • products and then this is another product and it's just another product

  • until you're addicted to nicotine.

  • And that is where it gets tricky. A 2017

  • study found that 25% of 15-24 year-olds recognize the Juul in a photo,

  • but the majority of them didn't know that it always contains nicotine. It's

  • easy to trace that information gap. You just have to look at the ads. When you

  • look at Juul's marketing today you find video testimonials from adult ex-smokers.

  • My name is Lauren. My name is Brandy. My name is Carolyn.

  • My name is Iman, I'm 38. But when Juul first launched, their marketing looked a

  • lot different.

  • When you put those ads alongside old cigarette ads, the

  • similarities are pretty striking.

  • Both marketed relaxation, sharing, travel,

  • freedom, and sex appeal.

  • It's now illegal for cigarette brands to use these kinds

  • of suggestive advertising themes,

  • but for e-cigarette manufacturers

  • who had products on the market

  • before 2016, those strategies are still unregulated. That's why a brand like

  • Kandypens can be promoted in DJ Khaled music videos, just like tobacco

  • corporations used to pay stars to smoke their cigarettes on screen.

  • But compared

  • to cigarettes, Juuls are a lot easier to start using. Typical e-cigarettes have

  • between six and thirty milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of vape liquid.

  • One Juul pod packs in 59 milligrams. That's three times the nicotine levels

  • permitted in the European Union, which is why Juul isn't sold there. But here in

  • the US, e-cigarettes don't have the same restrictions even though we know

  • that nicotine dependency can prime developing brains for future substance

  • abuse disorders.

  • The company says that Juul's nicotine content is about as much

  • as a pack of cigarettes, though tobacco experts say it's likely more than that.

  • And Juuls have a patented system for delivering that nicotine. Most e-cigarettes

  • use a potent version of nicotine called freebase that gives users a strong hit,

  • but Juuls vaporize a liquid made from nicotine salts.

  • Those salts allow

  • nicotine to be absorbed into the body at about the same speed as regular

  • cigarettes, much faster than most e-cigarettes.

  • But unlike freebase nicotine

  • which can be irritating, nicotine salt goes down smoothly.

  • So Juul packs a

  • bigger nicotine dose into a much more pleasant hit than most devices on the

  • market and that has public health officials worried because the US

  • almost beat nicotine addiction among kids.

  • As cigarette smoking among those

  • under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products and especially e-cigarettes

  • has taken a drastic leap.

  • In April, the FDA demanded that Juul submit

  • documents on its marketing and research.

  • A group of senators sent a letter asking

  • Juul to stop using flavors and designs that appeal to children and there are now

  • three lawsuits alleging that Juul contains too much nicotine.

  • In response,

  • to the concerns the makers of Juul have pledged thirty million dollars to

  • combat underage use.

  • Merchandise and marketing materials now have big warning

  • labels on them and the company is developing lower nicotine pods. The

  • trouble is there's still a lot we don't know about the long-term health impacts

  • of e-cigarettes.

  • Juul, like other e-cigarettes might have set out to

  • design a solution to a public health problem, but in a lot of ways their

  • product has created a new one.

If you don't look carefully

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B1 US Vox nicotine cigarette product marketing design

How Juul made nicotine go viral

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    kiki posted on 2018/08/20
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