PAX Labs, the maker of Juul e-cigarettes, is currently being investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to the company’s alleged teen-focused marketing.
According to a senior manager of PAX Labs, the company’s marketing team was well aware of the fact that teenagers could become a large part of its consumer base. However, after Juul’s release in 2015, the team noticed a substantial and noticeable presence of teenagers posting about using its products on social media.
The company slowly changed its advertising methods in response to this realization. PAX Labs started using models who were over 35 years old a year and a half after Juul’s initial release. The company’s campaigns now focus on showcasing real-life customers who chose to quit smoking cigarettes and use Juul instead.
According to investigators of PAX Lab’s marketing strategies, Juul ads have purposefully lured teens into smoking and introduced them to nicotine. A Massachusetts attorney general investigating the case stated:
“From our perspective, this is not about getting adults to stop smoking. This is about getting kids to start vaping, and make money and have them as customers for life.”
The FDA itself seems to have conflicting opinions on e-cigarrettes. The head of the organization, Scott Gottlieb, weighed in on the subject before taking his current position. He stated:
“Two-thirds of adult smokers have stated they want to quit. I know it’s hard, and they’ve probably tried many times to quit. We must recognize the potential for innovation to lead to less harmful products.”
On the other hand, the FDA’s former tobacco official Eric Lindblom stated that electronic smoking is just as bad as regular smoking. When addressing Juul’s rise in popularity, he mentioned:
“They are going to maximize their sales and profits any way they can. They are going to do that within the law, but they are going to press the gray areas as much as they can.”
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