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Juul Set To Go Worldwide

Juuls are heading to Europe as the company increases its dominance over Big Tobacco competition.

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There will be worried expressions in the boardrooms of tobacco companies as Juul stands ready to expand its activities across Europe. It has increased its domination of the pod market in the USA and, thanks to the constant exposure it is getting from the Tobacco-free Kids pressure group, has landed a massive war chest from investors.

Adverts went up last month as Juul sought to employ leading executives to pilot its journey into Europe. Brand managers, accounts directors and more were being recruited, and last week a mystery advert, in the Job section on the Planet of the Vapes forum, hunted for  “brand ambassadors/sales reps” to attend a “casting day” in Leeds.

In America, the company’s market share went up from 64% to 68% across the 4-week period ending on the 16th June. Juul’s nearest competitor is Vuse, with market share just scraping over ten percent. To put this into context, one year ago Juul had 35.7% and Vuse was on 26% - and amplifies the absolute crushing domination the company now has in that vape sector.

Bloomberg reports that Juul is “raising $1.2 billion in a financing round that would value the company at $15 billion”. Investors are putting reservations about the technology behind them as they see a sure-fire share winner, and the company’s value has soared from a previously valued $4 billion.

This influx of finance is going to be used to fund the global expansion currently underway (although Juul still will not confirm a UK product launch date with us). A tiny portion of the warchest ($30 million) has been set aside for a three-year program, “dedicated to independent research, youth and parent education, and community engagement efforts.”

It comes at the same time the company has announced “a new social media policy to strengthen its industry-leading marketing code”.

In a press release, Juul state: “The Company, whose mission is to eliminate cigarettes by offering adult smokers a true alternative, will no longer feature models on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook (JUUL Labs does not have a Snapchat account). Instead, JUUL Labs will feature former smokers who switched from combustible cigarettes to JUUL on its social media platforms.”

It adds: “Additionally, JUUL Labs has a dedicated internal team focused on reporting inappropriate content to social media companies and has partnered with several of these companies to proactively remove posts, pages, and unauthorized offers to sell product targeted at underage users.”

Juul Chief Operating Officer Kevin Burns said: “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,” he continued. “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.”

Morgan Stanley analyst Pamela Kaufman commented: “Juul’s success underscores the potential for disruptive technology to undermine U.S. tobacco’s reliable business algorithm.” And this despite the best efforts of the anti-vape community to paint Juul as the Devil incarnate.

Many see Juul as having mastered a sleek and discreet design, and the UK vape market is already interested in using nic-salt pod systems, some importing Juuls from the States. The likelihood is that it will be an instant success when it hits these shores, unlike the poorly received tobacco company heated tobacco products or efforts at electronic cigarettes.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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