Juul users are starting to say goodbye to their choice

After smoking a cigarette for about 25 years, Tim Marchman wanted to quit. And yet, he did not want to become what he calls a “wip boy,” a man who spends hours in specialty stores choosing dozens of electronic nicotine delivery devices, many of which are quite sophisticated. So he established what he considered to be the simplest option, Juul, a brand that had been practically synonymous with evaporation for some time.

“Juul is the default,” said Mr. Marchman, editor of the Motherboard technical and scientific site Vice Media in an interview. “It’s just a connection and a game.”

Unlike some other e-cigarette brands, Juul was also widely available. “At gas stations, they have it,” Mr. Marchman said.

That is likely to change.

This week, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Juul Labs to stop selling its devices in the United States, citing insufficient and conflicting company data on potentially harmful chemicals that could come out of Juul e-liquid parks.

Like the other converts, Mr. Marchman says he has no plans to return to tobacco after he can no longer afford his favorite brand of e-cigarettes. Still, he wonders how the FDA order will affect his habit.

“If I leave the country, should I bring my wipe juice?” Said Mr. Marchman, 43, who lives in Philadelphia. “Where can I buy? I hardly know where to get it in the movie. ”

The verdict against Juul was followed by years of criticism of the potential adverse health effects of the company’s products, as well as how it targeted adults with a range of sweet flavors, including mango, creme brulee and mint, and youth-focused marketing campaigns.

The predecessor to Juul Labs was founded in 2007 by James Monses and Adam Bowen, a couple of entrepreneurs who came up with the idea of ​​a tobacco alternative while studying with Stanford University alumni. When Juuls was first sold in 2015, the brand gained popularity, thanks in part to a strong advertising campaign that featured young, attractive men and women smiling, laughing and posing in awesome poses under the word “evaporated”.

By 2018, Juul had become so popular that the brand name became a verb, with teenagers sneakingly “joking” in high school classrooms and hallways. That same year, Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, agreed to pay $ 13 billion for a 35 per cent stake in Juul Labs.

Then came a series of complaints filed by state attorneys general who accused the company of encouraging nicotine addiction in adults through its advertising campaigns. In 2019 and 2021, Julie paid tens of millions of dollars to settle cases. The rise and fall of the company, from the success story of Silicon Valley to public health Paris, was captured in the 2021 documentary “Move Fast and Vape Things” by The New. York Times.

Although Juul lost his business after he stopped advertising after lawsuits, he remained one of the most visible and popular brands of e-cigarettes on the market. For Matthew Luther, 31, who lives in Detroit and repairs leather goods, information about the ban was disturbing.

“I will definitely miss Julie,” said Mr Luther, 31. “I think they were aesthetically better. It is easy to put them in your pocket and refill them. “

Like others interviewed for this article, he said he appreciates the simple design of the Juul device, which looks like a flash drive. “The ban seems retrospective to me,” he said.

The FDA decision came just as Mr. Luther increased his use of Juul products. “I think it’s just life, stress and I was trying to quit smoking,” he said.

Although Juul’s sales have declined in recent years, especially among teens who have turned to competitors such as Puff Bar, the company once controlled 75 percent of the market. So for many, the brand has become synonymous with evaporation devices as well as for Kleenex fabrics.

“When I think of e-cigarettes, I think of Julie,” said Jenny Matheson, who started using Juul products in 2018. It was the only nicotine alternative he found that allowed him to break the Marlboro habit he had acquired in high school. , He added.

Ms Matison, 54, who lives in Ranch Mirage, California and is a full-time caregiver for her disabled husband, said she would likely move to Vuse, a competing brand.

Other users of Juul buy beans and collect them. (Juul has asked the Federal Court of Appeals to temporarily block the FDA order. Whether the company’s products will remain available in the meantime remains to be seen.)

For Mr. Marchman, the editor of Philadelphia, the FDA’s actions could lead to him turning into what he had long feared to become – a VIP boy.

“I’m going to finish some weird evaporation device that I don’t fully understand,” Mr. Marchman said. “I will have to choose a device, test different juices. That will be the whole point. “

Sandra E. Garcia took part in the report.

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