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The findings of a new study suggest sales of JUUL vape pends continue to grow, and teens continue to become addicted to nicotine in the e-cigarettes, even after the company removed all of its flavored cartridges from the market.
Researchers with the American Cancer Society published a study on April 16 in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), which determined JUUL sales rebounded within weeks of removing fruit flavors from the market, and in fact increased over previous sales numbers.
The study sought to track flavored cigarette sales from the point when JUUL Labs first introduced the products, such as mango, fruit medley, and crème brulee, from January 2015, through its decision to remove them from the market in November 2018, and on through October 2019.
The researchers used Scantrack data on e-cigarette sales from January 2015 through October 2019, looking at monthly sales of five flavor categories, including fruit, menthol/mint, sweet, tobacco and other.
“The expansion of JUUL sales coincided with an expansion in fruit-flavor sales through October 2018,” the researchers noted. “Once JUUL withdrew fruit and sweet flavors from stores, menthol/mint came to dominate the e-cigarette market, but through 2019, a new surge in fruit-flavor sales by non-JUUL brands was observed.”
Even with the competition, however, researchers noted that “JUUL sales recovered within weeks” and then went on to surpass previous maximum sales, indicating users just switched to the flavors that remained on store shelves.
The researchers warn the findings highlight the problems with allowing a company like JUUL to “self-regulate” and instead call for more government regulation, as an entire generation of U.S. teens are already addicted to nicotine in JUUL following years of aggressive marketing directed toward minors and prior non-smokers.
Teen Vaping Epidemic
Electronic cigarettes were initially marketed as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. However, with the introduction of JUUL vape pods and other flavored e-cigarettes specifically targeted toward teens and non-smokers, federal health regulators indicate there is now a growing epidemic of youth e-cigarette addiction nationwide.
Other studies indicate vaping is creating a new generation of tobacco smokers among the nation’s youth who are drawn to the candy-like flavors of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes have become the most popular form of tobacco use among the nation’s youth.
Among high school students, e-cigarette use increased 10-fold, from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015. While many states regulate the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, e-cigarettes have been easily available to youth via the internet for several years.
JUUL Labs has been accused of fueling the growing teen nicotine addiction problems in the United States, with allegations of designing JUULs to look like a USB thumb drives to appeal to youth.
In September 2019, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL, indicating there was evidence it told school-aged children that its products were safer than cigarettes, which has not been proven.
A growing number of JUUL lawsuits and class action claims have been filed nationwide. Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the JUUL litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick III in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is where JUUL Labs, Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters are located.
As JUUL addiction lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months, the litigation is expected to continue to grow, and is likely to encompass tens of thousands of complaints.