Nobody over the course of this year has done more to promote the Juul electronic cigarette than The Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (CTFK). In fact, its Twitter account is posting pictures of Juul devices so often it’s like the organisation is being paid to advertise them.
“Yet another news story highlights skyrocketing youth use of Juul e-cigarettes,” writes the CTFK. “It’s time for FDA Tobacco to act to protect kids.” Another news story fuelled by the recycled nonsense from the CTFK press office.
Recently, the CTFK has primed and regurgitated stories including this one by HealthDay News: “Tiny e-cigarette devices that look like USB drives are making it tough for parents and educators to keep their kids from vaping. And these devices are producing a new generation of nicotine-addicted Americans, experts say.”
The Guardian had a Passnotes article written for it: “Appearance: A small rectangular pen that contains a ton of nicotine - I’ve had an idea. Let’s ban them. The trouble is that Juul was initially designed as a cigarette replacement for people trying to give up smoking. But kids have discovered it, and it’s often the first thing they smoke.”
The pressure group has boosted articles from USA Today about teens “addicted to Juuling”, “Vaping an epidemic in US high schools” from CNN, and Schrödinger’s Juuling kids (who are simultaneously being addicted to vast quantities of nicotine while being unable to tell any nicotine is present) in the New York Times.
The problem with The Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids’ approach is that while they’ve been banging on about packaging and flavours being marketed to children, the Juul has a limited range of flavours (none of which are named after branded confectionary) and comes in a very plain box.
American Vaping Association’s Greg Conley rebuffed: "Juul Labs is being unfairly hit with an onslaught of negative media articles that assume ill intentions on behalf of the company. While we support vigorous enforcement of youth access laws, we disagree with activists who believe that new restrictions, taxes and bans on adult products have ever solved a problem involving youth rebellion."
Brian Fojtik, writing on Reason.org, argues that the CTFK is barking up the wrong tree. “There isn’t a teen e-Cigarette epidemic,” he writes. Fojtik says that an anti-ecig letter sent to the FDA “comes across as attempting to manufacture a crisis out of thin air. [The] government-funded surveys that regulators rely upon to monitor youth usage and experimentation with tobacco and other substances … show a 20 percent reduction in both experimentation and “current” use of e-cigarettes in 2016.”
The Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids has latched onto the Juul because it receives support from Bloomberg L.P. founder Michael R. Bloomberg, and actions are intended to colour public opinion as part of the court case challenging the FDA’s stance over the change to the deeming regulations.
What a shame that the organisation barely register more than ten likes on any given tweet.