Walking to my 9:30 a.m. class in the quad, I am hit with a cloud of mint-scented vapor. It came from a Juul that belongs to the girl in front of me. I wonder, if this girl knows the truth about Juuls before she bought one, would she still be taking puffs on her device today?
In the midst of the vape controversy, Juul CEO Kevin Burns stepped down. Burns left the company at its most difficult time. More importantly, Burns left the company bringing the truth and answers to the public’s questions with him.
Burns is a coward. He started the Juul company in 2015 to promote a device that could help people quit smoking cigarettes. While this was an appropriate claim, Bruns did not have the research and case studies to back it up.
Juuling turned into a social phenomenon among a much younger generation than Burns intended. He knew the Juul device was not made to be used in the way teenagers were using it. Because young people put money toward the Juul device and nicotine pods, the company changed its marketing strategy to appeal to its new audience.
I assume teenagers were using the Juul device in the way it was intended. I don’t think Burns really knew what was going to happen; he just watched as millions of teenagers puffed away on their devices and believed all the advertisements claiming the products were safer than cigarettes.
The truth was far from what the company displayed. Teenagers often smoke at least one Juul pod a day. One Juul pod equates to an entire pack of cigarettes. The advertisements suggested it was safer than smoking cigarettes but had no evidence to back up the claim.
Now that there have been 14 reported deaths in the U.S., Burns should admit he made false claims and withheld important information about the device and its capabilities. If he didn’t know what the effects of the device were, he should have been honest or admit the truth now.
Burns did not advertise the Juul company in the right way. The company’s media approach turned from targeting older generations to the young people because of its popularity. If the company would have been honest, there would not have been as many teenagers today suffering from lung disease or even dying.
As someone who sees many people still puffing away on their Juul devices, I wonder what it would take for them to quit because apparently it’s not the 14 vaping-related deaths already reported. If these people would have known the truth before buying their device, they may be addicted today or in danger of facing the consequences.
Shelby Bordes is a 20-year-old mass communication junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.