E-cigarettes maker Juul Labs Inc. plans to back efforts to raise the minimum age of buying tobacco products and spend at least $30 million on measures that could help keep its items away from minors. Juul Labs said Wednesday it would support state and federal measures that would restrict tobacco purchases to people age 21 and older. The company, one of the most popular sellers of such products in the U.S., also said it would spend money over the next three years to fund independent research, youth and parent education, and community-engagement efforts. “Our company’s mission is to eliminate cigarettes and help the more than one billion smokers worldwide switch to a better alternative,” Juul Chief Executive Kevin Burns said in prepared remarks. He added, “At the same time, we are committed to deterring young people, as well as adults who do not currently smoke, from using our products. We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try Juul.” In April, the FDA sent a request for information to Juul Labs as part of a new Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, which is aimed at keeping tobacco products of any kind out of the hands of minors. The information request was meant to help the FDA understand why teens are so interested in e-cigs (particularly Juul) and whether or not Juul Labs was marketing the product intentionally to minors.
In August, Juul raised the minimum age requirement for buying products on its website to 21 from 18. The Juul device, which resembles a USB flash drive, delivers a powerful dose of nicotine, derived from tobacco, in a patented salt solution that smokers say closely mimics the feeling of inhaling cigarettes. The Juul liquid’s 5% nicotine concentration is significantly higher than that of most other commercially available e-cigarettes. Juul flavors include “Creme Brulee” and “Fruit Medley,” which critics have said make it more attractive to minors. As part of the new policy, Juul will no longer feature models in pictures posted on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. FWIW, Juul doesn’t even have a Snapchat. Instead of using models to market the e-cig, Juul Labs will now use real former smokers who switched from combustible cigarette to using juul devices. Juul has always said that its product was meant to serve as an alternative to combustible cigarettes, which are considered far more harmful to your health.Juul Labs is exhibiting how important ethical responsibility is to maintaining success for any organization, especially companies selling products that fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA. This situation of minors smoking with Juul devices and the aggressive response by Juul to help lower the number by Juul Labs should be seen as how well Juul is taking responsibility for their products. One can view this situation with regards to his/her own company. Are you practicing good ethical care with how you run and market your business? Are you willing to make necessary changes to your company in order to comply with business practice laws and to better serve as a responsible business-owner?