Juul E-Cigs Case: Why Are Teens Addicted

Juul an e-cigarette introduced to the
market in 2015 its techy sleek and looks
like an oversized USB thumbdrive jewel
labs maker of Joule a hip San
francisco-based startup that's valued
somewhere in the neighborhood of 16
billion dollars
yep that's billion with the B Julie
sling a verb meaning to use a jewel very
popular with the kids on their social
medias and you can't turn on the TV or
go to youtube without being told it's
the scourge of high schools everywhere
what's happening is young non-smokers
are turning potentially into smokers
using this as a gateway this coverage
isn't without merit but in a legitimate
zeal to protect kids from harmful
products are we missing another valid
concern if you could D cup home make a
team from the burning tobacco byproducts
and toxins you could literally save a
billion lives
welcome to think again a new video
series from NBC fake I'm Andrew stern up
Jule teen addiction crisis lifesaver for
adult smokers or something in between
my first instinct when I started
reporting this story fictive AK is at it
again he's in slick packaging and
marketing to hook kids and make them
lifelong users now Jewell isn't Big
Tobacco it's an independent startup as
you'll hear directly from them but some
experts say the company has borrowed
from the tobacco marketing playbook
today in East cigarettes we see many of
the same themes in many of the company
show very young models enjoying
themselves we see flavors that are you
know very appealing to young people this
is Professor Robert jackler who we
interviewed a couple months ago for
another video about Joule beginning in
about the world war one ERA this
paper-wrapped shredded leaf was turned
into something that was essential for
your entire life this was not accidental
it came from very sophisticated
marketing and public relations programs
from the tobacco industry your jewel in
particular they've taken off like crazy
amongst teenagers why partly the techie
appeal partly because they're stealth
'fl you can hide them ecig rets have
drafted off that fascination with the
latest best technology you know as
though somehow it's reinvented and safer
but is it actually safer when I got
deeper into the science and coverage the
same themes and accusations against the
company kept coming up one Joule appeals
to underage kids especially through its
fruity flavors to julienne leads kids to
cigarette use three the high nicotine
content makes Julian highly addictive
regardless of age and four we don't
actually know what long-term health
effects do we'll have yet but one
article challenged that characterization
pretty convincingly so I went to NYU to
talk to one of the scientists quoted in
the article
this is dr. David Abrams I'm a clinical
psychologist by training in addictions
and health psychology I've spent 40 plus
years both studying treating and doing
research on tobacco and tobacco related
disease a bruise is a leading voice in
the harm-reduction school of thought
which basically says preventing people
from smoking or getting them to quit are
still the goals but we should also
encourage the use of less harmful
nicotine alternatives for adult smokers
who can't or won't quit people smoke for
the nicotine and the satisfaction but
they die from the toe and the toxins in
the tobacco Abrams is bullish on Joule
because he says it can be that missing
link between prevention and addiction we
now have consensus between the National
Academies of science engineering and
medicine in a US a consensus report as
well as the Royal College of Physicians
in the UK that e-cigarettes are
dramatically less harmful than
cigarettes to be clear those physicians
concerned adult smokers trying to switch
but Abrams also says when it comes to
the studies showing ecigs are a gateway
to tobacco cigarettes might be
incomplete the pattern of use is largely
experimental which is one or two days
out of 30 there seems to be no
association that we can see that says
that one is a gateway to the other he
also subscribes to the theory that
risk-taking kids might be predisposed to
try both cigarettes and tobacco
cigarettes regardless in many of these
studies if you control for things like
marijuana of the drug taking that
relationship just disappears he's quick
to caution this isn't a causal
explanation but rather it's just really
hard to determine if one substance
unequivocally leads to the use of
another I would characterize jool as
being in a difficult position because
the degree to which joule is appealing
and can
Pete with and replace cigarettes is also
gonna be the degree to which it might be
appealing to some youth so we are very
concerned about that but at the same
time we need to balance the issue of
having a product that that can display
cigarettes now the scientific community
certainly does not universally agree
with dr. Abrams conclusions a lot of
studies do suggest a gateway effect
between a cigarette and tobacco
cigarettes and the FDA just came out and
said Youth addiction to e-cigs like
Joule is a bonafide health epidemic
ecigs have become an almost ubiquitous
and dangerous trend among teens the
disturbing and accelerating trajectory
of youth were seeing in youth and the
resulting path to addiction must end so
according to dr. Abrams Joel could hold
real promise for adult smokers tried to
transition to a safer product but the
ensuing addiction trend among teens
still presents a large and growing
so to dig a bit deeper I flew to San
Francisco to talk to one of the founders
of Joule myself my name is Adam Bowen
I'm co-founder and CTO of Joule labs I
mean myself I was a smoker for many
years I didn't really want to quit I
just wanted to stop harming myself from
smoking right I actually enjoyed smoking
bo and his co-founder met in a product
design course in grad school at Stanford
their brainchild eventually became Joule
we pioneered a new type of chemistry we
developed a new electronics that would
allow things like temperature control
and battery protection to make sure the
devices as reliable and consistent as
possible at least initially some of the
marketing and messaging featured models
who quote-unquote look young or some
described as looking young what was the
thinking behind those initial kind of
advertisers that you guys put out as a
company we understand the criticism and
you know we actually agree that this is
not was not our best foot forward and
you know we've realized in hindsight
that while we are trying to you know get
some awareness for the brand and for the
this is not a this is not a lifestyle
good this is a serious product with a
serious purpose
which is to switch smokers bowen was on
he made that basic statement at least
five times switching product for adult
smokers solely for adult smokers that is
it the big opportunity is with adult
smokers targeting adult smokers for
adults orders like any other business we
care about dollars we care about sales
we care much more about the public
impact the the social impact of what we
do and what about the high
concentrations of nicotine and fruity
flavors in terms of the concentration of
nicotine and the amount of liquidus in
the pod is really what's needed to get
cigarette like levels of satisfaction
from the product which would make sense
for chemistry designed for adult smokers
but it also means dual can be just as
addictive or even more so than regular
cigarettes some adults I've spoken with
did say Jule empowered them to quit
smoking but there Jule is even more
addictive because it's so easy to use
and use discreetly we're finding that
this helps this this distancing from the
flavor of the of a cigarette from the
look and feel of a cigarette is really
important in helping smokers switch
completely and stay switch we hear that
consistently don't want to be reminded
of the the smell of smoke or tobacco and
so they quickly migrate to another
flavor like mango or like mint Bowen
says the company is investing tens of
millions of dollars to educate parents
about the devices and helping prevent
kids from trying it but there's an
entire peer-to-peer culture of hashtag
dual life springing up it's almost as if
kids have taken the taboo of smoking and
digitized it for the modern life
and the anecdotes we keep seeing
throughout the media aren't wrong jewel
is changing the usage pattern around
kids in nicotine consumption as we saw
with the FDA announcement but as with
any new technology especially one linked
to nicotine the judgment came right on
the heels of joules increase in success
there are very real concerns about Joule
vaping adolescent nicotine use and on
and on and we should be investigated and
regulating them appropriately but it's
also important to realize the science is
both nuanced and complex and there are a
lot of competing interests at play here
including the nearly 38 million adult
smokers who might benefit from switching
to a less harmful product the FDA will
not tolerate a whole generation of young
people becoming addicted to nicotine has
a trade off for enabling adults to have
unfettered access to these same products
what I've said is they may well be sheep
in wolves clothing rather than wolf in
sheep's clothing but it's really hard to
forget about the wolf when we have such
a history of big tobacco companies
misleading the public