Juul's strategy for success: target children, steadily ramp up nicotine levels

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/07/teen-o-nic.html


Same script as for cigarettes. The neuropsych of nicotine addiction means that if you are not addicted by the time you are about 24 years old, you will essentially never be addicted, so the tobacco corporations who thrive on marketing addictive goods, see addicting children as their best strategy… hence the marketing to kids.


Holy crap, that’s the packaging? If I saw a kid with that I’d immediately assume it was candy, and wouldn’t think twice.


There have been two vaping deaths so far, that I know of. And numerous injuries, including children.



I wanna kick them right in their T-Zone.


In my neighborhood, I’ve seen several billboards put up by the CA Health Dept as part of their “Flavors Hook Kids” campaign. The billboards have images of packaging that looks like juice boxes or sriracha with text that reads “This is NOT candy.” Also, some of the packaging is made to look like office supplies, so it’s easy to sneak past teachers.

https://www.flavorshookkids.org/ – “Even if they didn’t mean to attract kids (history suggests otherwise), that’s what they did. You’d think they’d change their tactics to stop more from coming. Instead, they continued to transform their drug into the stuff of childhood, and hook the kids we work so hard to protect.”




The nefarious thing about nicotine salts isn’t even the flavor. The literature I’ve read suggests that salts enters the bloodstream much quicker than “traditional” freebase nicotine, and it’s pharmacokinetic profile is much more similar to cigarettes (and presumably a lot easier to get addicted to).



Don’t worry, this strategy was temporarily successful for Philip Morris, but eventually it brought them down.




Hmm, well lithium ion batteries do have issues, but the same issue of fires and explosions happens with mobile phones fairly often.

Just google “mobile phone explodes”.



1 Like

Ah Cory, this is super disappointing. Vaping is very effective tobacco harm reduction. I know it’s easy to assume that Marlboro’s parent company buying a third of Juul means they’re the bad guys now, but the pictures of irresponsibly packaged e-liquid have nothing to do with Juul. They seem to have very responsible packaging and marketing.
Demonising vaping and specifically the small, easy and convenient to use devices that use high nicotine levels is only going to encourage cigarette smoking. Condemning something around 1 billion people to death by smoking related diseases in the next generation. Not very many smokers have been successful replacing cigarettes with Thinkpads but millions have succeeded replacing them with e-cigarettes.


Did you join just to comment on this? Talking of what “seems” - you “seem” to have a vested interest if you cannot see that candy-style packaged nicotine, with high levels of this poison, is expressly designed to attract young eyes and minds.

But welcome to BoingBoing. :wink:


No it isn’t. Before vaping, US nicotine use had fallen to its lowest in recorded history. (https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/08/cdc-says-smoking-rates-fall-to-record-low-in-us.html) Nice job turning that one around. And yes, I’m conflating nicotine consumption and subsequent addiction with smoking. I’m not convinced it’s a harmless habit. Also, stop addicting teenagers to shit.


Marlboro would make the nicotine levels in the lights and ultra-lights higher than their Reds knowing that smokers would switch to lights and ultra-lights to try to quit.

And when they failed and went back to Reds … well the customer needed to buy and smoke more Reds to get the same nicotine levels.

The same shit is happening in legalized cannabis.

Profit is the new prophet.


I still have a couple of old comic books that had Joe Camel ads in them. Those tobacco industry creeps knew exactly what they were doing back then and they know exactly what they’re doing now.


Yeah well, I follow Cory’s posts via RSS and if I had an older account here this browser didn’t remember it.
But note I’m not condoning cartoon-style packaging. Just pointing out that it’s being used for effect here, along with the all the demonising of high percentages of nicotine with no accompanying discussion of volume, both of which are pretty unfair to juul.
And yeah I’m vestedly interested in continuing to not smoke cigarettes and having access to the products that made that possible for me and my loved ones.

1 Like

Yes let’s please not addict teenagers. But assuming you’ve been one at some point, you may have noticed they tend to seek out such things.
And your conflation of nicotine and tobacco is of course a common one, but if vape devices remain easily available tobacco use rates will continue to fall. That’s the goal here, which is why it’s such a bummer to see this type of scaremongering.


This is an extremely misleading post.

  1. Juul packaging does not remotely look like candy or something for kids. The pictures at top are of vape liquid that doesn’t work in Juul vape pens.
  2. Juul pods are available in both 5% and 3% formulas, the same (or less) percentage as other manufacturers of vape liquid and vape pens.