Massachusetts is no stranger to witch-hunts; the state witnessed the infamous Salem witch trials in 1692 due to an outbreak of mass hysteria. Nineteen innocent women and girls went to the gallows, followed by around 150 more people over the following few months. It appears its Attorney General has learnt nothing from history.
“This isn’t about getting adults to stop smoking cigarettes. This is about getting kids to start vaping. That’s what these companies are up to. They’re engaged in an effort to get kids addicted, to get kids hooked, so that they’ll have customers for the rest of their lives,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey told reporters during a press conference. “Way too much of their product is ending up in the hands of young people and ending up in schools.”
Does Healey hold Ford and Mitsubishi responsible for the actions of car thieves? Are Marvel and DC to be made accountable for children involved in superhero cape-related accidents? It seems unlikely. Yet when it comes to Juul: “What are they doing about the rampant use of their product by teenagers? Stop selling this stuff to young people.”
A spokesperson for Juul commented: “We welcome the opportunity to work with the Massachusetts Attorney General because, we too, are committed to preventing underage use of JUUL. We have never marketed to anyone underage. In fact, we have done very little marketing relative to our growth. We collaborate upon request with school districts and law enforcement on local youth prevention initiatives.”
"We utilize stringent online tools to block attempts by those under the age of 21 from purchasing our products,” he continued, “including unique ID match and age verification technology."
Juul’s Ashley Gould added: "We at JUUL Labs firmly believe that no young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL or e-cigarettes, and we applaud the Massachusetts Department of Health's recent campaign to educate and prevent teenage use."
It’s clear to the impartial observer that the mania coming from the likes of Healey and the Tobacco-Free Kids organisation is doing all of Juul’s marketing work for them. Nielsen data last Christmas showed that the company had achieved a dominating 46.8% market share, while its closest rival (Vuse) dropped to 20%.
Come April, Wells Fargo Securities analysts crunched the numbers and showed phenomenal growth, Jull climbed to a new peak of 54%. Now, in latest figures, the constant publicity being afforded to the company has helped it soar to control 70.5% of the cigalike/pen/pod sector (in convenience sales tracked by Nielsen).
Healey will continue her inquisition oblivious to the fact that her ridiculous demonising of a vape product simply makes it all the cooler.