Category: Youth Prevention

STATEMENT REGARDING WALGREENS’ SUPPORT OF TOBACCO 21 POLICIES IN STORES NATIONWIDE

From Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer

JUUL Labs commends Walgreens for taking this responsible step and urges other retailers to better restrict youth access. We have long supported Tobacco 21 policies, as they fight one of the largest contributors to youth usage – social sourcing through legal-age peers. Industry and retail need to work with regulators to combat youth use and preserve the opportunity for adults to switch from combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world.

STATEMENT REGARDING DELAWARE RAISING THE PURCHASING AGE TO 21 FOR ALL TOBACCO AND VAPOR PRODUCTS

From Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer

We commend Governor John Carney for signing legislation to raise the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 in Delaware, and would also like to recognize the instrumental leadership of Senator Bryan Townsend in this effort. 

We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we are committed to working with lawmakers to enact these effective policies and hope more jurisdictions follow in Delaware’s example.

Read more about our push to raise the purchasing age for all tobacco and vapor products nationwide.

STATEMENT REGARDING ILLINOIS RAISING THE PURCHASING AGE TO 21 FOR ALL TOBACCO AND VAPOR PRODUCTS

From Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer

We commend Governor Pritzker for raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 in Illinois and we especially thank Rep. Camille Lilly and Sen. Julie Morrison for their consistent leadership on this issue.

We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we are committed to working with lawmakers to enact these effective policies and hope more jurisdictions follow in Illinois’ example.

Read more about our push to raise the purchasing age for all tobacco and vapor products nationwide.

STATEMENT REGARDING WASHINGTON STATE RAISING THE PURCHASING AGE TO 21 FOR ALL TOBACCO AND VAPOR PRODUCTS

From Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer

We congratulate Governor Inslee, the Washington State Legislature, and Attorney General Ferguson for their successful efforts to raise the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21, and we hope more states follow Washington’s example. 

We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we are committed to working with lawmakers to enact these effective policies at the local, state and national levels.

Read more about our push to raise the purchasing age for all tobacco and vapor products nationwide.


JUUL Labs CEO Editorial Published In Washington Post

Today, The Washington Post published an editorial from Kevin Burns, chief executive officer of JUUL Labs, discussing our comprehensive initiatives to address youth use of JUUL products, while preserving access to our products for adult smokers looking for a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. 

In the piece, Kevin explains that as the vapor category continues to evolve, we want to take the chance to reintroduce ourselves, the work we are doing, and how it is helping adult smokers make the switch. We took the lead in our industry responding to the FDA’s call to action last year, submitting an action plan in November 2018 to address youth access, appeal, and use of JUUL products and overhauling how we run our business, but we all must work together to fight against underage use of vapor products.

Key points from Kevin:

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb were right when they argued in The Post on March 21 that vapor products present an opportunity to move adult smokers off combustible cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death.

They are right that use by minors of vapor products, including Juul products, is a serious problem that threatens the opportunity our industry offers.

They are right also that companies such as ours must step up with meaningful measures to limit access and appeal of vapor products to young people.

And that’s exactly what we’ve done, and we will do more to combat teen use in order to save the harm-reduction opportunity for the 34 million adult smokers in the United States.

Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO

We support the FDA’s draft guidance restricting the sale of certain flavored products, including Juul pods, at retail outlets and online. There is no place for kid-appealing flavors in the marketplace. That is why we would also support an outright ban on such flavors, including those that mimic candies or childrens’ foods. We also support the FDA’s swift enforcement against any manufacturer that packages or markets its vapor products in a way intended to promote use by minors.

Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO

We’ve led our industry in support of raising the minimum-purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem — social sourcing by legal-age peers — and they have been shown to dramatically reduce teen-use rates. We applaud California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia, which have passed “T21” legislation, and urge the federal government and every state to pass legislation to raise the minimum-purchasing age to 21.

We also need government agencies to take their own actions against counterfeit, knockoff and other illegal vapor products, which are often made with unknown ingredients, with unknown quality standards, and with youth-appealing flavors and packaging. Many of these products are offered for sale online without age-verification or in violation of FDA rules, which prohibit new products from entering the market without FDA approval.

Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO

To continue to have success in our mission to eliminate cigarette use among adult smokers, we must work together to fight against teen use of e-cigarettes.

Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO

Click here to read the full piece in The Washington Post.

STATEMENT REGARDING UTAH RAISING THE PURCHASING AGE TO 21 FOR ALL TOBACCO AND VAPOR PRODUCTS

From Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer

We applaud Governor Herbert, Representative Steve Eliason and the Utah State Legislature for raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 and we hope more jurisdictions follow Utah’s example.

We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we are committed to working with lawmakers to enact these effective policies at the local, state and national levels.

JUUL Labs Taking Action To Push Tobacco 21 Laws in the U.S.

We know Tobacco 21 policies work. In areas where they are already enacted, smoking rates are falling. In the months after California enacted Tobacco 21 statewide, for example, tobacco sales to minors dropped by 45 percent. High school smoking rates in Needham, Massachusetts plunged 47 percent after they raised the purchasing age to 21 years.

While raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 is not the only strategy for reducing underage use, we believe it is critical because it will prevent high-school seniors and recent high-school graduates from purchasing tobacco products and sharing them with underage users. We know that “social sourcing”—obtaining tobacco products from friends or siblings who are of legal age—is currently how a large swath of youth users access these products.

JUUL Labs supports Tobacco 21 legislation wherever it is active, which is currently Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia – states that collectively account for more than 23 percent of the nation’s population. Another 28 percent of Americans already live in a state or locality with Tobacco 21 laws. We urge lawmakers in states without these age protections to follow their example, and when and if they do, we will proudly support their efforts.

Soon, that means nearly half of Americans may live in states with Tobacco 21 laws; but we think it’s critical to pursue a federal law as well. Research from the Institute of Medicine estimates that enacting Tobacco 21 at the federal level would result in 249,000 fewer premature deaths among young people born since 2000. It would also cause a 25 percent reduction in the number of new high school age smokers, and a 15 percent decline in the number of new smokers under the age of 21.

We are currently running ads to support Tobacco 21 laws in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

In addition to JUUL Labs’ advocacy for Tobacco 21 legislation, we are also leading the category in other youth-prevention efforts. In November 2018, we implemented a comprehensive action plan to address youth access, appeal, and use of JUUL products. We overhauled how we run our business with a renewed focus on these efforts. Since then, we have taken aggressive action and have kept every single commitment we made, including:

Restricting Sale And Distribution Of Flavored Products

  • We suspended the distribution of non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavored JUUL products (Cucumber, Fruit, Mango, and Creme) to distributors and brick-and-mortar retailers in November 2018.

Strengthening Our Online Sales Controls

  • We enhanced our already industry-leading age-verification protections on JUUL.com, including two-factor authentication and use of facial-recognition technology to verify identity. This is the only place we currently sell Cucumber, Fruit, Mango, and Creme.

Strengthening Retail Compliance

  • We expanded our secret shopper program by 4X with escalating penalties for non-compliance and are imposing financial penalties on retailers who are subject to FDA Civil Monetary Penalties.

Exiting U.S. Social Media

  • We shut down our U.S.-based Facebook and Instagram accounts. Twitter is only used for non-promotional purposes. We are also continuing to work with social media platforms to remove inappropriate third-party content.

Technology Solutions

  • We are establishing traceability for JUUL products to identify bad-actor retailers that continue to sell products to youth and are developing next-generation products with user-level access restrictions to prevent youth use.

We’re encouraging others in the industry to take these same steps, effectively resetting the vapor category. We believe these comprehensive actions, along with Tobacco 21 laws, can successfully address this public health concern while preserving access for adult smokers looking for an alternative to combustible cigarettes.

statement regarding FDA draft guidance

From JUUL Labs

We are committed to reducing youth usage while preserving our opportunity to eliminate combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world. As part of our action plan deployed in November 2018 to keep JUUL products out of the hands of youth, we stopped the sale of flavored JUULpods to retail stores, strengthened our retail compliance and secret shopper program, enhanced our online age-verification, exited our Facebook and Instagram accounts and are continuously working to remove inappropriate third-party social media content. We support category-wide action including the responsible, restricted sale of flavored products and will review today’s draft guidance as we continue to work with FDA, state Attorneys General, local municipalities, and community organizations as a transparent and responsible partner in combating underage use.

JUUL Labs Files Complaint Against four Entities Using JUUL Branding To Sell Infringing Products

JUUL Labs’ mission is to help improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by providing them with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. To accomplish our mission, we must restrict youth usage. That’s why, among many reasons, counterfeit and infringing products pose such a problem.  

A key part of our youth prevention plan includes aggressively enforcing our intellectual property rights against counterfeiters and other infringers, operators who flood the market with unauthorized, and unregulated products, about which often little is known. These products tend to feature flavors and marketing that clearly target youth users and are often sold without any, let alone proper, age verification.

In our continued efforts to combat these violations, JUUL Labs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against 4 entities, their owners, and other individuals for trademark infringement, cybersquatting, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, and fraudulent misrepresentation, among other charges. The defendants employed a marketing strategy seemingly designed to create a false association with JUUL Labs, while simultaneously targeting a youth demographic.

The named entities are Juul Monster, K & R Products, Status Distribution, and Status Vapes, and their owners are Kristen Vanorski, Ryan Doka, Craig Doka, James Doka, and Jaclyn Quinto.  They are alleged to have sold/resold JUUL products, third-party vapor products, and counterfeit JUUL products under the misleading and infringing business and trade names “JUUL MONSTER” and “JUUL MEGA STORE,” and marketed using the cartoonish Juul Monster logo, which is clearly depicted using a JUUL device.

The defendants, who attempted to register their cartoon Juul Monster logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, appear to irresponsibly target children with their marketing strategy, using JUUL Labs’ own branding. They promote JUUL-compatible brands in kid-appealing flavors like “green apple hard candy,” which are pushed through affiliated social media accounts such as Juul Monster and HotPodz, undermining JUUL Labs’ ongoing youth prevention efforts.

This recent filing is another step to protect public health and JUUL Labs’ brand and innovations. We will continue to take forceful actions and do what we can to stop these counterfeit and infringing products from flooding the markets. We will work with regulators, law enforcement and other key stakeholders to protect public health and combat youth access.

Statement Regarding The Commonwealth of Virginia Raising the purchasing age for tobacco and vapor products

From Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer

We applaud the Commonwealth of Virginia for raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 and we hope more lawmakers follow its example at all levels of government across the country. 

We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we are committed to working with lawmakers to enact these effective policies to prevent youth access of JUUL and other vapor products.

Action Plan Update

JUUL Labs is committed to improving the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by providing a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. We do not want youth using our product. It is antithetical to our mission. 

In November 2018, we launched a comprehensive action plan to combat youth usage and said: “for us to successfully fulfill our mission of helping adult smokers, we must be trusted – and we must earn that trust. That starts with action, not words.”

Since then, we have taken aggressive action and have kept every single commitment we made.

Nothing is more important to us than solving the problem of underage use.

Restricting Flavors

What we said we would do in November:

“We launched flavors like Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber as effective tools to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes, and we do not sell flavors like Gummy Bear or Cotton Candy, which are clearly targeted to kids. However, we are sensitive to the concern articulated by Commissioner Gottlieb that ‘[f]lavors play an important role in driving the youth appeal,’ and understand that products that appeal to adults also may appeal to youth. As of this morning, we stopped accepting retail orders for our Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber JUUL pods to the over 90,000 retail stores that sell our product, including traditional tobacco retailers (e.g., convenience stores) and specialty vape shops.

“We will only restart accepting orders for Mango, Cucumber, Fruit, and Creme from retail stores that can legally sell flavors and comply with the criteria of our new 21+ Restricted Distribution System.”

What we did:

We stopped the distribution of Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber to our distributors (100+) and retailers (90,000+). These flavors are currently available only online at JUUL.com with our enhanced online controls that are compliant with our 21+ Restricted Distribution System. 

Enhanced Online Controls at JUUL.com

What we said we would do in November:

“We are adding additional age-verification measures to an already industry-leading online sales system that is restricted to people 21+ and utilizes third party verification.”

What we did:

Since we submitted our action plan, we have strengthened our e-commerce platform to further restrict underage and bulk purchases:

  • First, we revised our bulk-purchasing limits to restrict users from purchasing excess quantities of product and reselling to others, potentially youth. 
  • Second, we implemented two-factor authentication for all new JUUL.com accounts.  
  • Third, we incorporated facial-recognition technology, requiring a potential purchaser to upload a selfie in addition to his or her government-issued identification if their personal information cannot be verified by publicly-available records.

Improving Retailer Compliance

What we said we would do in November:

“Only JUULpods that mirror what is currently available for combustible cigarettes – tobacco and menthol-based products (Menthol and Mint pods) – will be sold to retail stores, including traditional tobacco retailers (e.g., convenience stores) and specialty vape shops. To secure sales of these products, we are immediately increasing our secret shopper program, from 500 visits per month to roughly 2,000 per month, to verify that our standards are being followed by retailers. We will also impose financial consequences against retailers caught by FDA selling to minors or allowing bulk sales of our products. We will permanently cut off all sales to retail stores with multiple violations.”

What we did:

We have ramped up our secret shopper program as described above and now conduct compliance checks against our bulk-purchasing requirements (2 devices and 5 pod packages per transaction). The program grew from 549 visits in November 2018 to over 2,000 visits in January 2019. 

We have also taken additional measures to strengthen retailer compliance. We have followed the FDA’s lead on Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) for age-verification non-compliance and initiated an escalating penalty structure. We have revised our reseller policy and notified retailers that we will penalize them for FDA CMP violations. We have also applied financial penalties retroactively to retailers that had received a CMP within the last twelve months as of October 2018, regardless of whether the retailer carried JUUL products at the time of the violation. A total of 731 retailers received notice that we would withhold commercial funding for the next promotional cycle, an estimated financial impact of $525,000 across retailers.

Unauthorized Online Sales

What we said we would do in November:

“In addition to monitoring retail locations, we will continue enforcement efforts against online marketplaces that sell JUUL products in violation of their terms-of-service.”

What we did:

We believe strongly that to prevent our products from making their way into the wrong hands, JUUL.com should be the only e-commerce platform for the sale of JUUL products. That being said, other online resellers remain active, often without any age-verification, so we have undertaken significant actions to address this challenge. First, in November 2018, we identified 116 direct retailers selling JUUL products online in violation of our reseller policy, and we took immediate action. This resulted in pulling over 100 product listings. Continued actions will include penalties up to permanent bans for non-compliance. Second, we provided our 100+ distributors with “no sales lists” and revised their contracts to penalize them for future sales to these entities. Third, with third-party support we are currently deploying data analytics tools, on a monthly cadence, to monitor and identify online resellers of JUUL products, and will take action accordingly.

Social Media

What we said we would do in November:

“We are addressing the presence of JUUL Labs on social media in two ways – exiting our own social media accounts and continuing to monitor and remove inappropriate material from third-party accounts.”

What we did:

We discontinued our Facebook and Instagram accounts. We continue to maintain a Twitter account, but only for non-promotional communications such as study results, executive hires, potential safety notices, and other corporate announcements. We are continuously working to remove inappropriate third-party social media content in partnership with major social media companies. Third-party users generate more than 99 percent of all social media content related to JUUL.

Technology-Based Solutions and Next Generation Product

What we said we would do in November:

“We are a technology company and will continue to use the latest breakthroughs to bolster user protections on our device. We are developing end-to-end traceability to track where a specific JUUL device or JUULpod was purchased to focus enforcement efforts on bad actors. 

“JUUL Labs has also invested tens of millions of dollars and spent over a year working on our next-generation, Bluetooth-enabled device, which will break new ground on access restrictions at the user level.”

What we did:

We have committed to full-system traceability for JUUL products, which will mean the ability to track our products through the distribution chain by using unique product identifiers. This capability is in addition to the tracking mechanism we already have in place to ensure quality and control over our product. Borrowing concepts from the pharmaceutical and other industries, we have started the process to build a robust platform, and we will pilot some of the capabilities in the coming months. Ultimately, we will be able to trace a device confiscated from an underage user back through the distribution chain, potentially identifying the retailer that sold the product, and take appropriate action. Building an end-to-end traceability program is both complex and ambitious, and many teams are working to bring it to fruition as quickly as we can.

Additionally, we are moving full steam ahead with development of our Bluetooth-connected device that will incorporate user-level access restrictions. We will have more to say on this front in the near future.

Conclusion

We have seen the data that we are contributing to a continued, and in some ways, unprecedented level of success with driving smoking rates and consumption of cigarettes downward in the US. 2018 showed an over 5% YoY decline in cigarette consumption – the largest single-year decline since 2009.

However, we won’t be successful in our mission to serve adult smokers if we don’t curb youth usage. We will continue to be a transparent, engaged, and committed partner in this effort with FDA, state Attorneys General, local municipalities, and community organizations.

Protecting Youth From Illegal, Unregulated, And Harmful Counterfeit And Infringing Products

Overview

In November 2018, JUUL Labs announced our action plan to combat underage use. As part of our plan, we stopped shipping our non-tobacco and non- menthol-based flavors (Cucumber, Creme, Mango, and Fruit) to retail stores. 

Since the announcement, we have been aggressively examining the landscape through thousands of secret-shopping visits to stores and online-monitoring and are dismayed that other companies are aggressively selling counterfeit JUUL devices and JUUL-compatible nicotine cartridges illegally. These products, which are sold both online and in physical stores, are unlawful, made with unknown and potentially hazardous chemicals, and with unregulated quality standards. These products often target youth with flavors such as Strawberry Milk, Lucky Charm, Bubble Bubble, Sour Gummy, Rainbow Drops, Taffy Burst, Cotton Candy, and Lemonade.

Illegal manufacturers and distributors focus on several types of potentially harmful products: counterfeits, which mimic actual JUUL products; and plug-compatible infringers (see representative samples above), who offer illicit pods, often falsely implying authorization by JUUL Labs.

These products could undermine public health and the efforts of all of us who are trying to keep nicotine delivery systems out of the hands of young people. In response, JUUL Labs has intensified its efforts to combat these illegal products by focusing on:

  • Eliminating Counterfeit Goods
  • Eliminating Plug Compatible Infringing Products
  • Studying the Problem to Create Additional Measures

Eliminating Counterfeit Goods

JUUL Labs recently hired Adrian Punderson (previously at PwC and Apple) along with an industry-leading team with decades of experience to help implement the company’s plan to eliminate counterfeit goods.

Preventing Production 

Our first step is to try and shut down manufacturers before they can even distribute counterfeit products. We partner with law enforcement agencies around the world to identify producers and then take administrative and criminal action to dismantle their manufacturing facilities and seize their illegal, and potentially harmful, products.  

Seizing Product Before it Enters the Marketplace

Customs and Border Protection agencies are critical partners in stopping counterfeit products from entering marketplaces. We work closely with customs agencies at ports around the world — including in China, where approximately 90% of counterfeit products originate — to seize counterfeit products by:

  • Conducting training sessions with customs agencies to identify counterfeit JUUL products
  • Working closely with investigators to identify smugglers attempting to bring counterfeit products into markets
  • Exposing smuggling routes used by counterfeiters and distributors so they can be shut down

Through these initiatives, we have already conducted multiple seizures of counterfeit products. 

Removing Products in the Marketplace

We are taking significant actions to remove counterfeit products that make it to the marketplace through online and retail outlets. 

We scour physical stores, online retailers, and social media accounts to identify outlets that are either selling or promoting counterfeit products. 

Once we find that someone is distributing or selling counterfeit product, we have a robust toolbox of measures that we utilize: sending cease and desist letters, conducting investigations, pursuing litigation, and referring cases to law enforcement. So far, we have deployed each one of these measures.

Eliminating Plug-Compatible Infringing Products

JUUL Labs’ industry-leading intellectual property legal group, led by Wayne Sobon, focuses on eliminating infringing plug-compatible and other illegal knock-off products by pursuing infringers that misuse JUUL Labs’ intellectual property without our permission, or falsely imply association with JUUL Labs to sell unregulated, and potentially harmful, products that often target youth.

First, the IP legal team, working with JUUL Labs’ Brand Protection team, monitors online and retail stores for infringing plug-compatible and other illegal copy-cat products, and then aggressively goes after illegal manufacturers and distributors. We use all means to get bad player to stop these illegal actions, including everything from cease and desist letters to litigation.

JUUL Labs’ IP team has already filed trademark lawsuits in multiple federal district courts and patent infringement actions at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and federal district courts, against a number of counterfeiters, infringing knock-offs, and purveyors of illegal plug-compatible cartridges. Scores of defendants have already settled with us; and we are seeking swift resolution in a number of the other actions, helping ensure that illegal products leave the marketplace forever. 

We are also actively pursuing civil actions across several federal courts against those involved in distribution and sales of such infringing and potentially dangerous products.

For infringers and knock-offs, we are also communicating with government agencies about supporting their investigations and ensuring compliance.

Studying the Problem

Counterfeiters and infringing plug-compatible manufacturers and distributors constantly change their infringement methods. We are aggressively studying their actions and patterns, so we can always be one step ahead. 

We have built a global team to investigate what these bad actors do and how they adapt to our enforcement efforts. We are also working on a peer reviewed research study that may illuminate the role that counterfeit and infringing products have on youth usage.

Conclusion

JUUL Labs’ mission is to help improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by providing them with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. To accomplish our mission, we must restrict youth usage. That’s why taking swift and decisive action against counterfeit and infringing products is one of our key priorities. 

We will continue to take forceful actions and do what we can to stop these counterfeit and infringing products from flooding the markets. We will work with regulators, law enforcement and other key stakeholders to protect public health and combat youth access.

Updates To JUUL.com’s Online Age Verification System

Last year, we announced our action plan, laying out our multi-pronged strategy for curbing underage use of our products in the U.S. We have taken many steps to implement this plan, such as currently restricting non-tobacco/non-menthol-based flavored JUUL products to our secure website, JUUL.com, where adults must be 21 or over to purchase. 

As of January 2019, we have implemented all of the online age verification enhancements we outlined in our plan to ensure no one under the age of 21 can buy any JUUL products on our website, regardless of flavor, while preventing bulk purchases to all customers.

Two-Factor Authentication 

To make a purchase on our website, a customer must first create an account. When a new user creates an account going forward, or an existing user returns to our website for the first time since rolling out this feature last November, we ask that they input their cell phone number for verification. We then send a code to their phone that must be confirmed with us to move forward and make an account on JUUL.com. Two-factor authentication will further improve identity verification and create additional barriers to prevent someone from using another person’s information.

Photo Upload

If we are unable to confirm that the account holder is 21 or over through publicly available records, or if they don’t wish to enter the last four digits of their social security number, they’re asked to upload the front and back of a photo I.D. that is then checked by our system and an age verification expert. A user will also be asked upload a photo of themselves to match against the photo on their I.D. This extra layer of protection, which utilizes automated facial-recognition technology, as well as a review by a human expert, will guard against a user using someone else’s I.D.

Extra Background Checks and Better Checks Against Fake I.D.s

On top of the upgrades we have made to our age verification system that users interact with, we’ve also made improvements that work in the background to ensure that a user is 21 or over, such as using an account-holder’s phone number as an extra public-records check. We’ve also put extra protections in place that provide a more stringent verification process to protect against fake I.D.s., both with our advanced fake I.D. detection algorithm and our human verification experts.

JUUL Labs has always made our online age verification process a top priority. We have an industry-leading online age verification system, and we will continue to observe and improve our system, through security and innovation, to ensure that no underage user obtains our product.

JUUL Labs Action Plan

Message From Kevin Burns, CEO, JUUL Labs:

JUUL Labs is committed to improving the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers, with the ultimate goal of eliminating cigarettes. While we have been working to solve that problem, another unintended and serious problem has developed – underage use of e-cigarettes, including JUUL.

We don’t want anyone who doesn’t smoke, or already use nicotine, to use JUUL products. We certainly don’t want youth using the product. It is bad for public health, and it is bad for our mission. JUUL Labs and FDA share a common goal – preventing youth from initiating on nicotine. To paraphrase Commissioner Gottlieb, we want to be the off-ramp for adult smokers to switch from cigarettes, not an on-ramp for America’s youth to initiate on nicotine. We won’t be successful in our mission to serve adult smokers if we don’t narrow the on-ramp.

Our intent was never to have youth use JUUL products. But intent is not enough, the numbers are what matter, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem. We must solve it.

For us to successfully fulfill our mission of helping adult smokers, we must be trusted – and we must earn that trust. That starts with action, not words. Here is our action plan:

What We Are Doing Now With Flavors

Stopping Flavored JUUL pod Sales To All 90,000+ Retail Stores

We launched flavors like Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber as effective tools to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes, and we do not sell flavors like Gummy Bear or Cotton Candy, which are clearly targeted to kids.

However, we are sensitive to the concern articulated by Commissioner Gottlieb that “[f]lavors play an important role in driving the youth appeal,” and understand that products that appeal to adults also may appeal to youth.

As of this morning, we stopped accepting retail orders for our Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber JUUL pods to the over 90,000 retail stores that sell our product, including traditional tobacco retailers (e.g., convenience stores) and specialty vape shops.

Restricting Flavors To Adults 21+ On Our Secure Website

We will now make Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber available only on JUUL.com, where we are adding additional age-verification measures to an already industry-leading online sales system that is restricted to people 21+ and utilizes third party verification.

To complete an order at JUUL.com, users are asked to provide their name, date of birth, permanent address, and the last four digits of their social security number. This information is verified by a third party and cross-referenced with publicly available records to confirm the person is at least 21 years of age. If a user’s public records fail to match or they do not wish to provide their social security number, they must upload a valid government-issued I.D. for review by a member of the company’s compliance team.

To prevent bulk shipments to those attempting to distribute to minors, online customers are strictly limited to two devices and fifteen JUUL pod packages per month, and no more than ten devices per year.

By year’s end, our age verification system will include additional protections, such as two-factor authentication, which verifies a user’s identity through their phone number, and then requires a code sent to that phone to create an account. We will also add a real-time photo requirement to match a user’s face against an uploaded I.D.

Our data show that flavors play a critical role in adult smokers’ ability to switch from combustible cigarettes, but we must prevent youth access. This is why we are using the strongest tools available to prevent underage purchases on our website, while still maintaining the availability of flavored JUUL pods for adult smokers who deserve the best chance of switching from cigarettes.

 

What We Are Doing Now In Retail Stores

Strengthening Retail Compliance

Only JUUL pods that mirror what is currently available for combustible cigarettes – tobacco and menthol-based products (Menthol and Mint pods) – will be sold to retail stores, including traditional tobacco retailers (e.g., convenience stores) and specialty vape shops.

To secure sales of these products, we are immediately increasing our secret shopper program, from 500 visits per month to roughly 2,000 per month, to verify that our standards are being followed by retailers. We will also impose financial consequences against retailers caught by FDA selling to minors or allowing bulk sales of our products. We will permanently cut off all sales to retail stores with multiple violations.

Stopping Unauthorized Online Sales

In addition to monitoring retail locations, we will continue enforcement efforts against online marketplaces that sell JUUL products in violation of their terms-of-service. This year alone, JUUL Labs has worked with online marketplaces, such as eBay, Alibaba, Amazon, and DHgate, to remove more than 22,000 third-party listings of JUUL products and/or counterfeits. Engaging with these online marketplaces to remove unauthorized listings will remain an ongoing part of our action plan.

What We Are Doing Now About Social Media

Shutting Down Social Media And Ramping Up Our Fight Against Third Party Accounts

We are attacking the presence of JUUL Labs on social media in two ways – eliminating our own social media accounts and continuing to monitor and remove inappropriate material from third-party accounts.

More than 99 percent of all social media content related to JUUL Labs is generated through third-party users and accounts with no affiliation to our company. Nevertheless, we understand that many young people get their information from social media. To remove ourselves entirely from participation in the social conversation, we have decided to shut down our U.S.-based social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. We have never used Snapchat. Our presence on Twitter will be confined to non-promotional communications only. YouTube will only be used for posting testimonials of former adult smokers who have switched to the JUUL system, in part to support online content on JUUL.com. We have already imposed 21+ age-gating restrictions for users to access our YouTube content.

By deterring social media promotion of the JUUL system by exiting our accounts, we can better prevent teens and non-smokers from ever becoming interested in the device.

User-generated social media posts involving JUUL products or our brand are proliferating across platforms and must be swiftly addressed. There is no question that this user-generated social media content is linked to the appeal of vaping to underage users. This is why we have worked directly with social media platforms to remove tens of thousands of inappropriate posts.

We have asked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat for their assistance in policing unauthorized, youth-oriented content on their platforms. We asked that each platform prohibit the posting of any content that promotes the use of cigarettes or e-cigarettes by underage users. The problem of combating social media’s negative influence on underage vaping is larger than simply removing the JUUL Labs social media accounts, and it can only be solved with the assistance of these companies. The solution to combat underage use requires a strong effort on both of our ends, and we are eager to work with these social platforms to solve these issues.

We will continue to monitor, report, and rapidly remove youth-oriented social media content from third-parties or users.

What We Are Doing In The Future

Restricted Distribution System (RDS) To Impose 21+ And Bulk Sale Requirements

We will only restart accepting orders for Mango, Cucumber, Fruit, and Creme from retail stores that can legally sell flavors and comply with the criteria of our new 21+ Restricted Distribution System:

  • Retail stores must invest in technology that designates flavored JUUL products as restricted.
  • Once the products are designated restricted, clerks must electronically scan I.D.s for flavored JUUL pod purchases, as well as visually verify the customer’s I.D. Purchasers will need to be 21+ to buy flavored JUUL pods regardless of local laws.
  • Once an I.D. is scanned, the user will be age-verified, and the sale quantity will be limited to prevent bulk purchases.

Developing New Technology To Further Restrict Access – Product Tracking And Age-Gated Bluetooth Device 

We are a technology company and will continue to use the latest breakthroughs to bolster user protections on our device. We are developing end-to-end traceability to track where a specific JUUL device or JUUL pod was purchased to focus enforcement efforts on bad actors. Keeping track of devices through a serial number is one of the most effective ways we can monitor where our products are ending up, as well as identify counterfeit products.

JUUL Labs has also invested tens of millions of dollars and spent over a year working on our next-generation, Bluetooth-enabled device, which will break new ground on access restrictions at the user level.

Our next-generation device will first launch in select international markets. We intend to work cooperatively with FDA to explore a regulatory pathway to bring this product to market in the U.S. We strongly believe such technologies will provide new levels of control that combustible cigarettes could never offer and are fully committed to provide these options to all adult smokers looking to switch.

Conclusion

We are implementing this plan starting today. We will be a transparent, engaged, and committed partner in this effort with FDA, state Attorneys General, local municipalities, and community organizations. We thank Commissioner Gottlieb for his ongoing leadership on this critical issue. JUUL Labs hopes the components of our plan are implemented industry-wide. If implemented across the category, these actions will have the greatest impact in restricting access and ultimately decreasing underage use, along with 21+ laws on all tobacco products. On that point, JUUL Labs will not only continue to support Tobacco 21, we will actively pursue it by drafting legislation, funding advocacy campaigns, and engaging with lawmakers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cVBkj0pTzY

STATEMENT REGARDING THE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD BY THE MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL

We welcome the opportunity to work with the Massachusetts Attorney General because, we too, are committed to preventing underage use of JUUL. We utilize stringent online tools to block attempts by those under the age of 21 from purchasing our products, including unique ID match and age verification technology.

Furthermore, we have never marketed to anyone underage. In fact, we have done very little marketing relative to our growth:

Like many Silicon Valley technology startups, our growth is not the result of marketing but rather a superior product disrupting an archaic industry. When adult smokers find an effective alternative to cigarettes, they tell other adult smokers. That’s how we’ve gained 70% of the market share.

We want to partner and engage with policymakers, lawmakers, educators and parents to combat underage use. We stand committed to working with those who want to keep JUUL out of the hands of young people. Our current efforts include:

  • We have pledged $30 million over the next three years to independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement. We are working closely with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and the group he assembled consisting of public health officials and tobacco control experts.
  • Our ecommerce platform utilizes unique ID match and age verification technology to make sure minors are not able to access and purchase our products online.
  • We market our products responsibly, following strict guidelines to have material directed toward adult smokers and not to youth audiences. (Please read our Marketing & Social Media Code)
  • We support effective legislation and regulation to prevent the purchase and use of our products by minors.
  • We have reseller terms that include monitoring and penalties for noncompliance with underage restrictions.
  • Our packaging will include a prominent nicotine label and the additional statement “The alternative for adult smokers.”
  • We collaborate upon request with school districts and law enforcement on local youth prevention initiatives.
  • Because of the regulated nature of our product, we conduct random compliance checks of independent retail stores using our secret shopping program. We evaluate hundreds of locations every month.
  • We actively monitor the internet and process thousands of enforcement actions per month. Our goal is to ensure only authorized retailers who are subject to our youth prevention controls are selling JUUL products.

About JUUL Labs

JUUL Labs is a technology company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. The company’s research shows that more than one million smokers have already switched to JUUL, and we are working to enable millions more to switch in the coming years through technological innovations.

Media Contact: press@juul.com

Furthermore, we have never marketed to anyone underage. In fact, we have done very little marketing relative to our growth:

STATEMENT REGARDING IOWA ATTORNEY GENERAL TOM MILLER FOR CONVENING INTERNATIONAL GROUP OF PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS TO ADVISE ON YOUTH PREVENTION

From Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer.

SAN FRANCISCO (June 18, 2018) – JUUL Labs issued the following statement today from its CEO Kevin Burns commending Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller for convening an international advisory group consisting of public health and tobacco control experts. The bipartisan group, including public health officials and former attorneys general, will advise the Company on how to keep JUUL out of the hands of underage individuals through youth and parent education and awareness. In addition, the group will provide counsel to JUUL on other topics including data and research.

“Our mission is to eliminate cigarettes and improve the lives of the more than one billion smokers in the world. We are confident we can achieve our mission while preventing underage usage, but as we work to keep JUUL out of the hands of young people, this will require partnership and engagement. That’s why we are grateful for Attorney General Miller’s leadership in assembling a group of experts to help us with our ongoing youth prevention and parent education efforts. We hope through education and awareness, no young person or non-nicotine user will ever try a JUUL. We want to be part of the solution, and we look forward to working with the advisory group to continue to strengthen our initiatives.”

In April, JUUL Labs committed $30 million over the next three years for independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement. JUUL also launched a parent education campaign to provide parents and educators with facts and information about JUUL. Last week, JUUL announced a new social media policy in which the Company will feature the stories of adult smokers who switched to JUUL.

About JUUL Labs

JUUL Labs is a consumer product company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. The company’s research shows more than one million smokers have already switched to JUUL, and we are working to enable millions more to switch in the coming years through technological innovations.

Media Contact: press@juul.com

JUUL Labs Implements New Social Media Policy for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO (June 14, 2018) – JUUL Labs today announced a new social media policy to strengthen its industry-leading marketing code. 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.

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. Recent examples of social media platforms taking action include the removal of @JUULNation, @Doit4JUUL, and @JUULCentral from Instagram. As part of the Company’s ongoing enforcement efforts, it also worked to report and remove more than 10,000 illegal online sales since February from various online marketplaces.

“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,” said Kevin Burns, CEO of JUUL Labs. “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.”

Today’s announcement follows the launch of the Company’s new print, digital and radio educational campaign for parents and educators to make factual information about JUUL more accessible. In April, the company committed $30 million over the next three years dedicated to independent research, youth prevention, and community engagement efforts, including parent education. People are encouraged to visit JUUL’s web page, www.JUULFacts.com, to learn more about the product and how JUUL is working to prevent underage use of vapor products.

About JUUL Labs

JUUL Labs is a consumer product company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. The company’s research shows more than one million smokers have already switched to JUUL, and we are working to enable millions more to switch in the coming years through technological innovations.

Media Contact: press@juul.com

JUUL Labs Launches Advertising Campaign Aimed at Raising Awareness And Combating Underage Use

SAN FRANCISCO (June 6, 2018) – In its continued effort to combat teenage use, JUUL Labs today announced the launch of a new multi-pronged educational advertisement campaign to arm parents with information about JUUL. The Company’s print, digital, and radio campaign, titled “What Parents Need to Know About JUUL,” raises awareness and provides parents with key facts about JUUL, vaping and nicotine. The educational campaign is part of the Company’s continued efforts to combat underage use through its initial investment of $30 million over the next three years dedicated to independent research, youth and parent education, and community engagement efforts.

JUUL designed the educational campaign for parents and educators to make factual information about JUUL more accessible. The Company worked with parents and educational professionals to shape the content of the campaign to ensure it addressed questions regarding the product and vaping.

“This campaign further builds on our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and combat teenage use, and we believe providing transparent and factual information to parents will help keep JUUL out of the hands of young people,” said Kevin Burns, CEO of JUUL Labs. “While we remain steadfast in our commitment to helping adult smokers who want to switch from combustible cigarettes, we also want to be part of the solution in deterring minors from ever trying JUUL.”

JUUL’s new campaign is targeted to parents of teenagers and will roll out across radio, print and digital mediums in early June in select markets. Parents are encouraged to visit JUUL’s web page, www.JUULFacts.com, to learn more about the product and how JUUL is working to prevent underage use of vapor products.

 

 

About JUUL Labs

JUUL Labs is a consumer product company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. The company’s research shows that hundreds of thousands of smokers have already switched to JUUL, and we are working to enable millions more to switch in the coming years through technological innovations.

Media Contact: press@juul.com

JUUL Labs Announces Comprehensive Strategy to Combat Underage Use

SAN FRANCISCO (April 25, 2018) – Building on its existing youth prevention and education programs, JUUL Labs today announced it will take additional decisive action by actively supporting state and federal initiatives to raise the minimum age to 21+ to purchase tobacco products as part of an initial investment of $30 million over the next three years dedicated to independent research, youth and parent education, and community engagement efforts.

JUUL Labs has seen significant success in its efforts to enable adult smokers to transition from cigarettes and also recognizes that young people have become aware of and gained access to its products. The company is committed to combatting underage use of its products and engaging with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), members of Congress, local and state officials and members of the public health community on this important issue.

JUUL Labs will work with Tom Miller, the Iowa Attorney General, and a group of public officials and tobacco control individuals he will assemble to continue strengthening existing initiatives and new efforts to keep JUUL out of the hands of young people. In addition, Attorney General Miller and the same group will work with JUUL Labs to develop a transparent and effective framework for independent research focused on the scientific and societal implications of vapor products.

“Our company’s mission is to eliminate cigarettes and help the more than one billion smokers worldwide switch to a better alternative,” said JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burns. “We are already seeing success in our efforts to enable adult smokers to transition away from cigarettes and believe our products have the potential over the long-term to contribute meaningfully to public health in the U.S. and around the world. At the same time, we are committed to deterring young people, as well as adults who do not currently smoke, from using our products. We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL.”

The company’s support for state and federal efforts to raise the minimum age of purchase for JUUL and other vapor products to 21+ follows JUUL’s announcement in August 2017 that it had raised the minimum age of purchase on its own e-commerce site to 21+ even though the legal age of purchase in many states remains at 18.

“Our objective is to provide the 38 million American adult smokers with meaningful alternatives to cigarettes while also ensuring that individuals who are not already smokers, particularly young people, are not attracted to nicotine products such as JUUL,” said JUUL Labs Chief Administrative Officer Ashley Gould, who heads the company’s regulatory, scientific and youth education and prevention programs.  “We want to be a leader in seeking solutions, and are actively engaged with, and listening to, community leaders, educators and lawmakers on how best to effectively keep young people away from JUUL.”

Additional programs to be launched or expanded in 2018 include:

  • Investing in research and development to evaluate potential technologies to help prevent youth from gaining access to, and/or using JUUL;
  • Building on the company’s efforts to enforce appropriate age verification at retail through its “secret shopper” program;
  • Calling on social media platforms to remove content showing, and/or encouraging, youth use of JUUL
  • Calling on online marketplaces to remove content that violates JUUL resale agreements by offering JUUL products for sale without age verification;
  • Providing educational material at retail locations where JUUL products are sold and on the JUUL Web site to help increase parents’ awareness of JUUL and provide information on the negative impacts of nicotine on youth.

 

About JUUL Labs

JUUL Labs is a consumer product company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes that enables them to permanently switch. The company’s research shows that hundreds of thousands of smokers have already switched to JUUL, and we are working to enable millions more to switch in the coming years through technological innovations.

Media Contact: press@juul.com