In a documentary on CNBC, set to air tonight, Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns speaks about the recent teen vaping epidemic. A new documentary, “Vaporized: America’s E-cigarette Addiction,” will air tonight.
When Carlos Quintanilla, the reporter for the movie, toured one of Juul’s manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin with Burns. While there, the CEO was asked what he would say to a parent with a child who was addicted to Juul.
“First of all, I’d tell them that I’m sorry that their child’s using the product,” said Burns. “It’s not intended for them. I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them. As a parent of a 16-year-old, I’m sorry for them, and I have empathy for them, in terms of what the challenges they’re going through.”
In 2017, the number of teens who had vaped grew to two million. Activists againse vaping say that the numbers are growing higher, with hundreds of thousands of teens that vape on a daily basis.
Is Vaping Addictive?
Tobacco industry proponents have often argued that vaping helps adult smokers quit drugs. However, JUUL stands out as a testament to another harsh reality: the company’s vapes are highly addictive, with more nicotine content than any other vape manufacturer.
According to the Truth Initiative, vaping is skyrocketing among young people:
“Over the past year, surveys found that 56 percent of youth and young adults who ever used JUUL or an e-cigarette reported that they were younger than 18 when they first tried the device and nearly half — 47 percent — said that they tried it because their friends used it.”
And what’s worse is that JUUL, marketed to young people with an assortment of fruity and sweet flavors, contains a highly addictive amount of tobacco. One pod equals the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. The Truth Initiative also reports an escalating trend of teen tobacco use, pointing to the fact JUUL’s e-cigarette market share tripled in just over a year, from 24 to 75 percent. JUUL is known as the brand most favored by young adults and teens.
More Action Needed on Teen Vaping
The FDA has called the amount of teens that use nicotine vape products an “epidemic”, but government intervention has been slow. Until recently, few companies selling these vape products asked for identification to verify buyers were 18. And most teens bought their vaping products directly from websites.
The FDA has sent letters, cease-and-desist orders, and spoken with the media about the problems with teens vaping. However, without any strong legal action, there’s little chance they will curb this epidemic in time to halt a growing population becoming addicted to nicotine.