Juul Labs, which owns 75% of the e-cigarette market and is valued at over $38 billion, has been running a series of full-page ads in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that are at best misleading – and at worst deceiving – the American public.
Key statement: “JUUL Labs applauds the states that have gone to 21+ and supports making it the standard nationwide.”
Except . . . this New York Times piece by Sheila Kaplan a month ago.
In Washington, Juul Vows to Curb Youth Vaping. Its Lobbying in States Runs Counter to That Pledge.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — For months, Juul Labs has had a clear, unwavering message for officials in Washington: The e-cigarette giant is committed to doing all it can to keep its hugely popular vaping products away from teenagers.
But here in Columbia, the South Carolina capital, and in statehouses and city halls across the country, a vast, new army of Juul lobbyists is aggressively pushing measures that undermine that pledge.
The company’s 80-plus lobbyists in 50 states are fighting proposals to ban flavored e-cigarette pods, which are big draws for teenagers; pushing legislation that includes provisions denying local governments the right to adopt strict vaping controls; and working to make sure that bills to discourage youth vaping do not have stringent enforcement measures.
And this: “Though Juul supports numerous state bills that would raise the legal age for buying vaping and tobacco products to 21, some of those bills contain minimal sanctions for retailers. Others fine only the clerks and not the owners for violations.”
Beyond all that, Juul looks to be running the ad playbook refined by the tobacco industry, as Yahoo Finance’s Aarthi Swaminathan has reported: “In January, a team at Stanford recently published a report that found that Juul’s ‘principal advertising themes … are closely aligned with that of traditional tobacco advertising.'”
Case in point:
No wonder, then, that tobacco giant Altria recently purchased a 35% stake in Juul for $12.8 billion, which produced the $38 billion valuation.
One final calculation:
E-cigarettes + tobacco industry + a slew of lawsuits filed by individuals and state attorneys general against Juul Labs = one very expensive vapescreen like the 21+ campaign.
You do the math.