Even the guy running Juul admits that you probably shouldn’t use its highly addictive products if you’re not already addicted to nicotine.
Amid a growing number of investigations into the potential health risks—and all that stuff about, y’know, targeting kids or whatever—Juul CEO Kevin Burns told CBS This Morning that despite his company getting in bed with big tobacco, his company’s number one priority isn’t making money.
“Don’t vape. Don’t use Juul. Don’t start using nicotine if you don’t have a preexisting relationship with nicotine,” he said in an interview that aired this week. “Don’t use the product. You’re not our target consumer.”
It’s a convenient position for Juul to take now that the company dominates the market for e-cig products and got a pretty payout from Big Tobacco last year to the tune of nearly $13 billion. Not to mention the fact that the company was accused just last month by a House panel of actively targeting children and is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over its marketing tactics. (Juul maintains that it did not try to sell its products to children, even if its conduct suggests otherwise.)
Burns also told CBS This Morning he thinks “Juul is absolutely contributing to the decline of the smoking rate in the United States.” Asked by CBS whether he felt that Juul is safer than traditional cigarettes, however, he declined to comment. A seemingly wise move given that the long-term effects of vaping aren’t known and Juul has been linked to health complications.
Juul has come under fire following numerous reports that the company targeted youth in its early marketing, an accusation that kicked off the FTC probe that was reported by the Wall Street Journal this week. The FDA has long been riding the company over teen vaping concerns, going so far as threatening to pull the devices from the market. In the wake of these accusations, the company has done serious damage control and has announced new measures to keep its products out of the hands of kids.
It’s a neat maneuver, telling people not to use a highly addictive product after years of effectively doing the opposite.