How Juul made nicotine go viral

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How Juul made nicotine go viral

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This is an ad for one of today’s hottest products if you don’t look carefully though you might miss what it’s advertising it’s this little thing and it’s called goo oh looks more like a flash drive or computer device but it is really another kind of e-cigarette since it launched in 2015 jool has taken over about 70% of the e-cigarette retail market share it’s now worth about 16 billion dollars and that success is often attributed to its sleek design but the same features that make Joule a well engineered product also make it attractive to young people many of whom have never smoked before and that has people worried because devices like Joule might be designed to help smokers get off cigarettes but they’re also addicting a new generation to nicotine so what makes this one East cigarette so different from the rest [Music] answering that question starts with what you see on the outside jewel is an e-cigarette but it really doesn’t look like one it looks like a tech product and it’s tiny that allows smokers to get a nicotine fix without having to worry about social stigma but also allows young users to consume nicotine inconspicuously without having to worry about who sees them going to school having this in your pocket is a lot better than having like excellent this bag that looks a cup like a lightsaber you know you could kind of jewel anywhere in discreteness that discreteness is a big shift for e-cigarettes since the first patent in 1930 designs haven’t been very subtle the first generation of e-cigarettes mimic the shape size and colors of traditional cigarettes sometimes even with a fake light-up tip the second and third generations focused on larger and more customizable devices with longer battery life and big plumes of vapor then came the Joule a stripped-down version with no buttons no big plumes of vapor and no complex refilling or recharging and it comes in a variety of bright colors that set it apart from other east cigarettes which made it look like a tech product that young people were already familiar with that is why people called Joule the iPhone of e-cigs and that similarity makes sense Jules founders met at Stanford design school and one worked as a design engineer Apple they created the first East cigarette that looked more like a cool gadget and less like a drug delivery device this wasn’t smoking or vaping it was Julie yeah like how grandma’s have iPhones now it’s kind of like normal kids have jewels no because it looks some water and we kind of trust modern stuff a little bit more so we’re like we can use it we’re not gonna have any trouble with it because you can trust it that’s a key aspect definitely helps people get introduced to it and then once once they’re introduced to it they’re staying because they’re conditioned to like all these different products and then this is another product and it’s just another product until you’re addicted to nicotine and that is where it gets tricky a 20-17 study found that 25% of 15 to 24 year-olds recognize the jewel in a photo but the majority of them didn’t know that it always contains nicotine it’s easy to trace that information gap you just have to look at the ads when you look at Jule’s marketing today you find video testimonials from adult ex-smokers my name is Lauren my name is brandy my name is Carolyn my name is Aman I’m 38 but when jewel first launched their marketing looked a lot different when you put those ads alongside old cigarette ads the similarities are pretty striking both marketed relaxation sharing travel freedom and sex appeal it’s now illegal for cigarette brands to use these kinds of suggestive advertising themes but for e-cigarettes have products on the market before 2016 those strategies are still unregulated that’s why a brands like candy pens can be promoted in DJ Khaled music videos just like tobacco corporations used to pay stars to smoke their cigarettes on-screen but compared to cigarettes jewels are a lot easier to start using typical East cigarettes have between six and thirty milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of vape liquid one jewel pod packs in 59 milligrams that’s three times the nicotine levels permitted in the European Union which is why jewel isn’t sold there but here in the US see cigarettes don’t have the same restrictions even though we know that nicotine dependency can prime developing brains for future substance abuse disorders the company says that Jules nicotine content is about as much as a pack of cigarettes though tobacco experts say it’s likely more than that and Jules have a patented system for livering that nicotine most cigarettes use a potent version of nicotine called freebase that gives users a strong hit but Jules vaporize a liquid made from nicotine salts those salts allow nicotine to be absorbed into the body at about the same speed as regular cigarettes much faster than most east cigarettes but unlike freebase nicotine which can be irritating nicotine salt goes down smoothly so Joule packs a bigger nicotine dose into a much more pleasant hit than most devices on the market and that has public health officials worried because the u.s. almost beat nicotine addiction among kids as cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen the use of other nicotine products and especially east cigarettes has taken a drastic leaf in April the FDA demanded that Jools submit documents on its marketing and research a group of senators sent a letter asking Joel to stop using flavors and designs that appeal to children and they’re now three lawsuits alleging that Jul contains too much nicotine in response to the concerns the makers of jewell have pledged thirty million dollars to combat underage use merchandise and marketing materials now have big warning labels on them and the company is developing lower nicotine pods the trouble is there’s still a lot we don’t know about the long-term health impacts of e-cigarettes jool like other e-cigarettes might have set out to design a solution to a public health problem but in a lot of ways their product has created a new one

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Posted by Ian

Ian has marketed for some of the world's best-known brands like Hewlett-Packard, Ryder, Force Factor, and CIT Bank. His content has been downloaded 50,000+ times and viewed by over 90% of the Fortune 500. His marketing has been featured in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Adweek, Business Insider, Seeking Alpha, Tech Crunch, Y Combinator, and Lifehacker. With over 10 startups under his belt, Ian's been described as a serial entrepreneur— a badge he wears with pride. Ian's a published author and musician and when he's not obsessively testing the next marketing idea, he can be found hanging out with family and friends north of Boston.

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