This comes in the midst of Juul’s effort to get FDA approval, which has been made more arduous by the fact that the FDA has cracked down on Juul after learning how popular the device is with underage users.
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 Juul.
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 has also initiated an internal team focused on flagging and reporting social media content that is inappropriate or targeted to underage users.
The company mentioned that it has worked to report and remove more than 10,000 illegal online sales since February from various online marketplaces.
We reached out to Juul to see if any changes have been made to the way that Juul targets ads on social media and elsewhere. We’ll update the post if/when we hear back.
Here’s what Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns had to say in a prepared statement:
While JUUL already has a strict marketing code, we want to take it one step further by implementing an industry-leading policy eliminating all social media posts featuring models and instead focus our social media on sharing stories about adult smokers who have successfully switched to JUUL. We also are having success in proactively working with social media platforms to remove posts, pages and unauthorized offers to sell product targeted at underage accounts. We believe we can both serve the 38 million smokers in the U.S. and work together to combat underage use – these are not mutually exclusive missions.
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 response, Juul announced a new strategy to combat underage use, with an investment of $30 million over the next three years going towards independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement efforts.
Since August 2017, Juul has required that people be 21+ to purchase products on its own website, but online and offline third-party retailers have not been so diligent.