The e-cigarette maker valued at $15 billion is now facing concerns from every corner due to their controversial product. Juul Labs is in the midst of three lawsuits against their company, because of the popularity of their Juul product amongst younger consumers.
All three of the lawsuits have one thing in common: that the company deceivingly marketed their product saying that it was less harmful than actual cigarettes, when it fact it contains more doses of nicotine in its product, according to Wired.
Is Juul-ing the New Social Norm?
Among the three lawsuits presented against Juul, the main concern was coming from parents whose kids are slowly becoming addicted to the nicotine salts in the product. One of the lawsuits stated that Cooper (Juul user) became agitated and moody if he didn't get his daily dose of nicotine salts from his Juul. The other two lawsuits presented similar issues that these kids couldn’t function on a day to day basis without having their Juul.
So what has this product done to these kids? In the first place, these products should have not even been available to kids in middle/high school. It has become increasingly popular especially among 15-16 year olds, as one of the cases is about a 15 year old using a Juul. When Juul was first created it was made as an alternative for adult cigarette smokers. Instead it has become a phenomenon for the wrong demographic.
Juul has become so popular amongst this younger demographic that schools are concerned. At Burr and Burton Academy, 95% of the disciplinary infractions that they deal with are all connected to Juul, said Meg Kenny, the assistant head of school.
The question that arises is what do kids see in these products? Is it merely because they want to look ‘cool’, are they actually trying to find an alternative to smoking, or is it simply just another norm that society has created for people to ‘fit in’. The main issue is that they don’t actually know Juul’s products contain nicotine and that’s where the company is at fault.
What Do these Lawsuits Mean for Juul Labs?
Recently, in a statement to Wired, Juul Labs said that they don’t believe the cases have any merit to them and that they will continue to defend them vigorously. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey who is investigating this problem has said that there have been instances that have involved Juul's marketing strategy to be targeted at young people. For example in Juul's 2015 launch campaign, Healey mentioned that the pictures that were used directly appealed to young people.
Although Juul Lab’s is increasing in value, it’s doing so for the wrong reasons. Previously in April they faced some issues with the FDA where they were asked to give documents regarding their marketing strategy. Over the past couple of months, they have three lawsuits posed against them, all within this past year. If claims and problems keep occurring for the company, investors will be reluctant to invest with this company, seeing its unethical reputation.
As of now, Juul Labs claims that they have not been using any marketing strategy to entice younger consumers to buy their products, when they initially released the Juul for adults. However, there has to be some change made by them, because three lawsuits is not just any other problem.
According to CNBC, the cigarette industry seems to be in trouble with the rise of vaping becoming more popular. This has resulted in key tobacco stocks like Philip Morris International (PM - Free Report) to drop over the past few years. Juul Labs has taken over the E-cig industry with the company producing year-over-year sales of 800% in 2017.
Although Juul Labs might be dominating its industry with increasing sales, it’s on a downwards spiral amongst a lot of people. If the company continues down this road, it could face a lot more problems. With three lawsuits on the line, the company should look towards rebranding the negative image that has been created against them.
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