Juul Labs CEO Speaks Out About Teen Vaping
Addiction can rear its ugly head at early ages and one of the fastest growing dependencies among teens today is e-cigarette “vaping.” This harmful practice exposes kids to lung issues and can be seen as a gateway towards more harmful substances. For that reason, the CEO of Juul Labs (which is the leading manufacturer of e-cigs) has spoken out; apologizing for the damage his products are causing.
Kevin Burns is the highest ranking executive at Juul and has a long history of business success. On that note, the company is raking in huge profits at roughly $2 billion a year. But at what cost? In truth, these tobacco-related products can cause just as many health problems as traditional cigarettes.
Burns appeared on CNBC this week, giving reporters a tour of his company’s massive manufacturing plant. When grilled about the sharp increase of young people vaping, he openly admitted that it is a side effect he feels remorseful about.
“First of all, I’d like to tell the parents out there that I’m sorry their child is using the product.” Burns conceded. “It’s not intended for them. I hope there was nothing we did that made it appealing to them.”
Critics, however, believe Juul did purposely target their products to teens. The company’s marketing campaign features young looking models and sweet, fruity flavors are advertised in colorful packaging.
Vaping has also been glamorized as being “hip” and “cool” among teens. In fact, a government survey recently reported that more than 1 out every 5 high schoolers admitted to using electronic cigarettes within the past 30 days. That is a 77 percent jump from just two years ago.
As a measure to curb teenage vaping, Juul has now shut down their Facebook and Instagram accounts. The flavored e-cigs have also reportedly been removed from establishments that are more accessible to young people.
But national health officials still believe that more should be done. Acting FDA commissioner Ned Sharpless released a statement this week, criticizing vaping products. He also emphasized that more action may be coming to limit their usage.
“Our agency stands ready to accelerate the review of e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products.” Sharpless explained.
San Francisco took harsh measures this month as well, issuing a total ban on e-cigarettes within its borders. We will certainly be monitoring this trend closely in the hopes that more major cities soon follow suit.