A new documentary tells the story of Juul’s disastrous crash and burn


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As Juul’s popularity began to soar in 2016, the sleek USB-shaped e-cigarette became ubiquitous seemingly overnight, with a cloud of smoke and a crackling sound when inhaled deeply.

If you’re a millennial who grew up surrounded by second-hand smoke in homes and restaurants in the ’80s and ’90s (like this author was), Juul’s rise may not come as such a shock to you.After all, many long-term smokers have thrown away their cigarettes in exchange for e-cigarettes after trying to quit for years or decades—but yes, they probably It has ended more They’re addicted to their new pocket mate, which claims to pose fewer health risks than combustible tobacco but contains enough nicotine to last all day.

But if you’re a teenager, the effects of Juul are immediately apparent and may be upsetting to your parents, as explored in a new Netflix documentary. Directed by RJ Cutler, Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul charts how seductive product design, powerful influencer marketing and questionable corporate decisions made the product popular among underage users before its parent company ultimately collapsed. Levels skyrocketed, Yule Labs. Once one of the fastest-growing startups in the U.S. (valued at $38 billion at its peak), the company has lost 95% of its market value and settled a $3 billion lawsuit over its U.S. marketing tactics. reconciliation. Nearly all the flavors have been withdrawn from the market, and the device itself has been temporarily banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – although that decision is currently under review.

What makes Juul so popular? Eight years after its launch, the documentary series sets out to answer that question, arguing that founders James Monsis and Adam Bowen made a critical error in judgment by viewing nicotine as a problem that could be solved through technology rather than public health initiatives. .In its early days, Juul was dubbed “the iPhone of vaping” in a Wired review by journalist David Pierce — an association that stuck because of its simplicity. Design and magnetic attraction.

How Juul Labs strayed from its original mission of making cigarettes obsolete is unclear, although Pierce said of the company in Big Vape that “their goal is not to get people to quit smoking; Quit smoking.” Their goal is to get people to start using Juuling. ”

As Big Vape points out, Juul’s eye-catching, aspirational launch campaign promoted the device as a must-have for twentysomethings and echoed a classic (and long-banned) Cigarette event.

“James and Adam really want Juul to be seen as a luxurious, sophisticated product that people won’t feel embarrassed to use, unlike some vaping products that are seen as silly and uncool,” said series author Jamie Ducharme . is based on the one found in “Big Vape”.

But Juul’s legendary “Vaporized” campaign in Times Square and pop-up stores in cities across the U.S. didn’t seem to work that well at first. If not for word of mouth, and the use of celebrities – Bella Hadid, Dave Chapelle, Adele and Jennifer Lawrence are all on e- If it is mentioned in cigarettes, then e-cigarettes are likely to be sent to the forgotten technological cemetery. Docuseries – Making Juul mainstream. For Gen Z, it has spawned countless memes and hashtags, a new nicotine-fueled social ritual in and out of school that is likely to be a lifelong habit for many.

“Juul really created a new sense of unity for the generation I grew up in,” Chase Amiratta, who started using Juul as a teenager, said in the documentary series.

When asked to comment on the docuseries, a company spokesperson said in a statement emailed to : “Juul Labs has been working hard over the past several years to rebuild relationships with our stakeholders and regain trust.” He pointed out that the use of Juul products by minors (i.e., people under 21 years old) “has dropped by 95%.”

“As this documentary chronicles this journey, we hope it will help drive a more balanced public conversation about opportunities to reduce the harms of tobacco through effective alternatives like Juul products…” the spokesperson continued.

“Big Vape” neither neatly solves Juul’s troubles nor explains the company’s motives. Although a handful of former Juul employees and board members participated in the documentary, it’s unclear how much of its multibillion-dollar blunder was driven by profit or by concerns about Juul’s appeal to adults, including its taste) ignorance. Also attracts minors.

“I’ve literally been told, ‘You can’t have an adult like mango as much as a kid,'” former Juul marketing manager Erica Halverson said of the best-selling flavor. “That’s a load of bullshit to me. Bulls***t.”

Big E-Cigarettes: The Rise and Fall of Juul” is now available on Netflix.

read: “Big Vape: The explosive rise of Juul” Author: Jamie Ducharme (2021)
Time magazine reporter Jamie Ducharme’s book, which investigation How a well-intentioned thesis course by two Stanford graduates became the Juul we know today — the fodder for a Netflix documentary.

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