They have some brilliant marketing people working for them.
These people are not brilliant. They are utterly deceitful. To go along with this shit in this day and age is utterly contemptible. Imagine all the people and the planning and the brainstorming to come up with such a trick - how can any of them not feel really really bad and storm out of the room?
Oh yeah, profit.
I've asked them about the morality of it, and they're apathetic. It's not like some Wolf of Wall Street attitude where they enjoy ripping people off or making addicts, but just corporate apathy. The job pays well and they get to enjoy the finer things in life, so why should they care?
It probably requires a different breed of humanity to actively choose to get involved in any vice-related industry.
Or maybe I will do it too given enough incentive.. who knows.
Edit : Some more context
I find it fascinating what people do to get rid of the dissonance. In India, we have a heavily regulated tobacco industry. In a debate , I remember someone from a cigarette manufacturing company (who don't manufacture any other tobacco products) commenting that relative to beedi  and chew-able tobacco, cigarettes are better because they are less harmful and bring in more revenues to the government!
Despicable industry across the board.
The danger of Juul is really yet to be determined -- but odds are extremely high that the public damage is far less than tobacco. These recent reports of lung collapse in minors all results from crap low quality thc vaping products, not Juul or even ecigs.
This for sure. I had multiple friends work for Crispin Porter & Bogusky in the early 2010s. They're the main ad agency for companies like Burger King and Dominos. Great opportunity for them to begin their careers as designers, but at some point, all of them had to learn how to swallow selling diabetes to kids.
Tobacco I'm less sure about, since I don't really know of anyone who uses it "responsibly".
Burgers and Pizza aren't the healthiest food in the world, but they're not the worst either. A typical burger consists of bread, meat and salad. There's nothing inherently wrong with any of those things.
I believe it's up to the government to regulate these things and ensure fair business practice.
As I said, these machines should be available if you can use them responsibly, the government should dictate policy that gambling operators should adhere by to ensure that users don't take things overboard.
Blaming the engineer who built the machine makes for an easy scapegoat, of course, but if the issue isn't addressed on a societal scale, there will always be another engineer to replace him.
>Blaming the engineer who built the machine makes for an easy scapegoat, of course, but if the issue isn't addressed on a societal scale, there will always be another engineer to replace him.
We can still say theft is bad regardless of the legal enforcement around theft. Some things are just morally wrong.
I have to assume that your perspective is being coloured by personal experience. At this point, your argument is simply: "Building pokie machines is bad because I think it's bad". Sorry, but I disagree with that, as stated before, they should be available to those who can use them responsibly.
Additionally, and tragically, because they work in a field with a psychological cost, their market wages are higher to compensate, meeting a second metric simple folk use to judge merit/competency.
And so outsiders look in and say "brilliant", when really it's just a bunch of otherwise average performers, paid well, willing to do what others won't and open to a greater palette of possible actions because of it.
To quote BR from thank you for smoking: "We don't sell Tic Tacs for Christ's sake. We sell cigarettes! And they're cool and available and addictive. The job is almost done for us!"
> morality is highly subjective
And the word "brilliant" is not? "Highly" is just padding: Morality is subjective, and so is everything else, ultimately. It's not a magically different kind of thing to think about, it's just one of the more basic ones.
these two things are not mutually exclusive. one implies intelligence/skill, the other implies honesty/sound ethical principles.
If you look at the the synonyms, it's clear that "brilliant" has strong positive connotations. And a lot of ethics are essentially recognizing that actions which might be rewarding in the short term are in the long term detrimental.
None was particularly effective as a military commander - which is something we should be grateful for, because if the Nazis had been ruled by someone with the military skills of Napoleon or Julius Caesar we'd all be fluent in German and xenophobia.
In fact they all did huge physical and psychological damage to their countries - something a genuinely brilliant political leader would have avoided.
I also think most of your phrases aren't things people would actually write, in that the adjective tone is dissonant with the noun. The one exception is evil genius, where I think the dissonance is the point.
I too would prefer it if every professional had the same moral compass you and I have; but that is a separate issue. Hence why people can be both successful and arguably immoral.
Granted, modern marketing is rarely applied this way so in practice almost all marketing is dishonest, but that's not what "by definition" means.
Marketing is dishonest "by definition", because its purpose is to persuade, not inform.
Really the question is - whose interest are you purporting to serve by communicating with me? Yours, or mine? And whose interest are you actually serving?
which I think is quite reasonable.
it's the stuff people do and call it marketing and advertising that is dishonest - trying to make people want something despite it not being in their best interest.
once upon a time, I think we trusted businesses because we saw most business was honest. and now much less so, since we see most business is dishonest now.
This reminds me of the following quote.
"After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great."
It seems our language has some aversion to recognizing desirable traits in undesirable people. Almost like recognizing the trait is seen as praising the trait and praising the trait is seen as praising the person.
Teenager willingly buys e-cig for $50, reports e-cig company for $150 fine, then returns the unused e-cig in exchange for the proceeds of the fine. Even without a refund, they just made $100.
The marketing copy on the website is just fluff in support of that goal.
To me it’s not weird at all. People can ignore an awful lot if it doesn’t affect them directly and immediately. It’s even easier if they benefit in some way.
There is a deeper answer, and the door to it is seeing that different people can have very different underlying beliefs and motivations, which are not necessarily morally better or worse, just different.
The former are usually called drug dealers and the latter psychopaths.
actually, many times you can prove these things. produce the contract showing that juul paid for one ad to run after the other and they are really screwed. Or prosecutors who have a spine could easily just record the number of instances of the ads running together vs. separately and use that as evidence they are not intended to be separate ads. (It might even be possible to subpoena radio stations for their records that would show this).
Generally, judges don't take kindly to the type of "brilliance" that would be going into court and claiming "But they are two separate ads, so we weren't being misleading" if Juul indeed arranged for them to run one after the other.
I see this claim constantly mentioned, how judges really dislike loopholes and such, yet at the same time it seems like lawyers specialize in doing just this. It feels like there are some 'gotchas' that work in court and others that do nothing except anger the court and lawyers are the only ones allowed to know which is which.
FWIW I hate people like that. If that's the best you can do with your creativity then you're no better than a scientist that works on chemical weapons.
Indeed. If people understood that with Phillip Morris or Facebook on their CVs they would be unemployable afterwards, they might think twice.
We have inate abilities to model reality in a way that helps us, not just in a cognitive dissonance way, but in strategic ways as well.
It's the classic "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.". It's wildly viewed as a skill, and in a lot of cultures marked as a sign of adulthood to be able to deceive yourself to overcome your primary reaction.
People whose morals are strong enough to suffer the harm and deal with the uncertainty of trying to find morally-responsible work aren't that common. And as soon as you have family responsibilities, the pressures increase.
The underlying problem is that compliant behaviours and attitudes are rewarded, sometimes generously, while dissident attitudes and behaviours are punished - often in ways that imply the dissident brought misfortune on themselves.
There's absolutely no mainstream reinforcement of the suggestion that many aspects of the culture this happens in are toxic and have a skewed moral foundation, and plenty of reinforcement of its opposite - that the culture is healthy, generous, open, and perhaps even the best of all possible cultures.
Yup - we might say that as a topic, it's been discussed throughout the ages. For example there are the findings of this guy Paul the Apostle (as summarized by an unknown transcriptionist sometime in the 1st or 2nd century):
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
-- 1 Timothy 6:10
Those don't need to be promoted, usually.
I know someone who works for one of the big betting companies here. He writes software that aids in direct targeting of problem gamblers based on their social profiles and anything else they can get their hands on.
Pushing drugs is bad but pushing gambling is totally legal.
Suffice to say I'm not a huge fan of said bloke, I think you're selling your soul to the devil, so to speak.
their employees? any source?
"They have some sociopaths working for them whose focus is purely on making a buck at the expense of consumer's lives"
The first thing every doctor would advise sick patients to do was quit smoking.
Every doctor who autopsied a dead smoker could see how bad smoking was for you. I remember seeing a smoker's lung in a jar in the 1960's. It was black and rotten. It was terrifying.
The idea that nobody knew cigs were bad for you until the 1960's is completely false. It was common knowledge.
It's interesting that idea is exactly what we are talking about today.
RJR tried doing smokeless cigarettes in the 80s and 90s but they apparently tasted like a fart. They still sold them up until 2015. It seems to work somewhat like a hookah, a hot carbon tip is used to heat air before it passes over the tobacco. Supposedly these kinds of cigarettes were the only ones you could still consume in the RJR office.
There's a complex public discourse, where even relatively small numbers of bad actors can really fuck up the whole situation.
The peer pressure to smoke and drink was absolutely enormous and I really don't hold it against my classmates for folding. In that sense being in the 'out' group of the class made it easier to resist the pressure, though some of those kids would go completely overboard thinking that if only they out-drank and out-smoked the clique they'd be let in.
One of my friends went to the doctor complaining of shortness of breath, the doctor told him to quit smoking.
Interestingly, at college (still in the 70's) pretty much none of the students smoked. The handful that did got a lot of peer pressure to quit.
Some of my dates were smokers, but none of them pressured me to smoke.
My father told me about chain smokers in B-17's in raids over Germany. The cigarette would not stay lit at 30,000 feet. So the crewman would take a breath from the oxygen mask, blow on the cigarette which would then burn like a torch, take a puff, put the mask back on for another quick breath, blow on the cigarette before it went out, etc. He felt sorry for them. I didn't think to ask him what he thought of cigarettes and pure oxygen on an airplane overloaded with gas and bombs (thinking of Apollo 1).
The main point seems to be that the tobacco companies fraudulently covered up what they knew about the dangers of smoking (don't know all the details but assuming this fraudulent activity falls under one of the specific "racketeering activity" crimes).
I'm definitely not a lawyer, but for Juul, would seem to me that it's not enough just to call some of their products "Cool Cucumber" or whatever else can appeal to children, but would need to point to some specific fraudulent activity that Juul engaged in.
They had horror story after horror story. The one that sticks with me is them building a campaign to target developmentally disabled adults, because they were especially loyal addicts once hooked.
"The FTC charged that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the seller of Camel cigarettes, promoted an addictive and dangerous product through a campaign that was attractive to those too young to purchase cigarettes legally."
Second, the State of California's Department of Public Health is currently running both an anti-vaping campaign, and a smoking cessation campaign, without linking vaping to a reduction in tobacco smoking. In short, they have transformed from anti-tobacco to anti-nicotine.
2. https://www.flavorshookkids.org/, https://stillblowingsmoke.org/, https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DCDIC/CTCB/Pages/Cal...
Just to get it in line with the treatment of other War On Drugs substances.
I mean, why should tobacco get special treatment when the other ones don't? ;)
> To win, a plaintiff would have to prove (1) conduct, (2) of an enterprise, (3) through a pattern, (4) of racketeering activity called "predicate acts," (5) causing injury to the plaintiff’s "business or property."
I think the fact that the tobacco industry has already been sued under this law makes it more likely that it also applies to this case
I would even through in the subsequent PR for free
Regulators were too slow to ban advertisements of these devices; especially those aimed at kids. Furthermore, decades of anti-smoking media has removed any traces of 'cool' from cigarettes. e-cigarettes are too new to have this cultural benefit.
But, you're right. There's a hooker in the closet. Remove the 'cool' from e-cigarettes. We could ban attractive flavours, and keep dull, boring ones.
Besides, there's logistical issues with making them illegal. What to do with the addicted population? Push them into cigarettes (cheapest option)? Use public funds for replacement programs (expensive; low political will)?
And finally, motivated teens will obtain whatever they want. Any such demand is supplied in an urban environment. This stuff is easy to make, easy to hide, and easy to import from other provinces/states.
They apply to flavoured alcoholic beverages which usually appeal more to young people.
My suggestion to ban particular flavourings is related more to the fact that cigarettes taste nasty. It would be helpful to be able to make comparisons here from a marketing standpoint. Not to mention the crazy flavourings some shops create, with little regard to health. I'm sure there's more fruitful avenues than this one.
As for nicotine, you'd be surprised. My local shop has a healthy stock of no-nic juices available. I presume the intended market is people dropping from 3mg -> 0mg, but I imagine the real audience is wider.
As for flavoured alcohol, I think we just have a different relationship with alcohol. It's a more widely used drug which we've consumed before the dawn of civilization. A lot of people are perfectly fine with young adults drinking it (see: not NA). And of course, flavoured alcohol exists to make spirits palatable.
On a side note, I'm curious about your wording. Did you intend to evocative with the usage of 'life-destroying poison' immediately followed by 'children'? That's certainly an extreme way to position an argument. I'm sure you're acting in good faith, but it's just not in my cultural sensibilities.
Healthier than cigarettes? Impossible! Cigarettes must be one of the healthiest things in the world.
I'd like to see some more concrete studies and maybe even safer product designs. Juul itself is a predatory but brilliant product. It's simple and therefore hard to fuck up. Meanwhile my early misadventures into e-cigarettes wasn't very healthy (burning coils, etc). Thankfully I learned over time.
There is a reasonable action between making it illegal and having e-cigarettes without any restrictions at all.
I highly doubt that.
banning never works. no circumstance makes banning stuff acceptable. you can however limit access. otherwise you're just exploiting your own fears to drive people into doing your bidding.
Banning stuff does in fact work. The Consumer Products Safety Commission has banned all sorts of stuff: https://www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws--Standards/Regulations...
Despite that, Mexican cartels aren't selling shoddy cribs and high chairs on the streetcorner.
Automotive regulators have banned a wide variety of unsafe things as well, but people aren't sneakily removing their dashboard padding and the like.
It's true that banning some things doesn't work, and I'm generally against drug prohibitions. But I think banning Juul will probably work just fine, because we aren't banning the substance entirely, just a delivery mechanism.
i would say that a ban on juul but not on tobacco would be (and is) a joke. and since we're banning stuff, alcohol would be another one.
i completely agree that the ban on murder for hire has been a total failure and should be rescinded immediately.
Anyway, I still disagree with banning e-cigarettes because it seems they're so much less harmful than regular cigarettes that even if the marketing was so effective that everyone started vaping, I'm not sure the harms would outweigh the gains from smokers quitting.
I'd also point out that the problem isn't "acting out". It's the act of smoking cigarettes itself, which is objectively harmful. Marijuana is much safer. E-cigarettes seem to be as well, but the jury is still out.
Even if the market is apart is partially grown, peer pressure and acting out was going to get many of those teens on something. If it is just vaping, that is much better than cigarettes, marijuana, heroin, meth, ... really, perfect is still the enemy of good.
Alcohol equivalent of switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes would be switching from drinking shoe polish to drinking regular, bottled liquor.
Still, the shoe polish analogy was meant to convey that the harmful substances are incidental, and e-cigs give you smoking experience and nicotine without them.
I never said 'just', but you've got to start somewhere and there is nowhere better to start than at the top. When people lower down the food chain are the first targets, there is a nasty tendency for the matter to stop there. (First rule of plumbing: shit flows downhill...)
The biggest thing vs a regular mech mod is that it has single use proprietary cartridges that you have to throw out afterwards, vs spending less money on a bottle of vape juice that will last for way longer.
this is false. the Juul product is a 3rd iteration of a long line of vaping innovations. Juul was far ahead of their competitors when they launched: small, practical, easy to use, great nicotine hit. they're so far ahead that most of their competitors now use the Juul model of selling a compact vape along with pre-filled pods.
Pretty sure that's more expensive per volume than printer ink!
I don't have any experience to assess if it is more satisfying or smoother but I believe Juul has used both those claims in their marketing.
1. Targeting Kids. I don't see the targeting. Marketing a product as "cool" is a valid tactic for the, say, 18–35 age demographic, too. Is there a way to market to 18-year-olds while actively dis-marketing to 17-year-olds? Serious question.
Anecdotally, the radio ads I hear for Juul are all testimonials from middle-aged smokers who switched. Which is not to say that they don't have other tactics, but this particular one can't be particularly attractive to teens.
2. Deceptive Marketing. Probably more legit, but not limited to tobacco. No marketing is going to tell you why not to use their product. Now, alcohol, nicotine, gambling, high fat/sugar foods, credit card debt, etc. should be held to a higher standard than, say, Forever 21.
 I.e., "social media posts glamorizing vaping", "flavors including mango, mint and creme brulee", "depicting the devices and those who use them as cool and sexy". Or from a sub-linked article, "mak[ing] it look cool and sleek".
Also, the fact that you hear the ads on the radio makes teens not the target demographic. But here is a more in depth article: https://www.vox.com/2019/1/25/18194953/vape-juul-e-cigarette...
That young models, a sleek device, and social media is also attractive to the 13–17 demographic that Juul is being accused of illegally marketing to is impactful, but not damning in of itself.
So that goes back to my question: is there a way to market to 18–35 and actively not market to 13–18? Let's be clear: "teens" 18–19 and people in their early 20s are adults.
Otherwise, the proposed solution is not to market <35 at all... which seems to be exactly what Juul is doing. So then the argument is that they used to, and that's good enough to cry foul.
All this comes back to "targeting". In my mind, it's very hard to draw a distinction between targeting 18–35 that happens to be attractive to 13–18 (because of course it does), and targeting 13–18. Then, you can argue whether incidental attraction is a "feature or a bug", and whether or not it was part of an insidious strategy all along.
 "[In 2018], Juul’s ads began to look more adult and conservative... with the slogan 'Make the switch,' the ads now feature testimonials from [people over 35]."
Moreover that Vox article completely makes up the 75% increase stat it cites. If you follow the citation and do the math, the survey which they don’t like to show a roughly 30% increase in the number of teens who had used any vaping product in the prior 30 days.
I don’t think anyone should use these products, but they’re clearly less bad than cigarettes. Also, this whole thing has the smell of a moral panic without a lot of actual substance.
"Juul hired social media influencers — people with large followings on Instagram — to promote its products. It created hashtags — #juul, #juulvapor, #switchtojuul, #vaporized — that the influencers blasted out to their followings, often featuring images of young people Juuling, or doing tricks or jokes with their device."
Impossible to design a campaign like this without understanding how many millions of teenagers follow Instagram influencers.
> Is there a way to market to 18-year-olds while actively dis-marketing to 17-year-olds?
If there is not, then don't market to 18 year olds. Very easy decision.
Can we extend that logic? For example, do we ban all marketing of any adult entertainment because it would also apply to most kids 13+? Do we ban marketing of games rated T or higher since they would appeal to people 12 and under?
Both of these are existing issues where people far younger than the intended demographic are using products not meant for them, and in some cases illegal to provide to them.
I don't think there is any legal basis for video game ratings. In fact, any such law would probably be unconstitutional: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_v._Entertainment_Merchan...
Long way to say that yes, we can extend my logic. If your marketing, or any activity you're doing, is encouraging kids to do something harmful, stop. It doesn't matter if you're breaking the law, just be a good person and try to do the right thing.
I think it would definitely exist for AO games. M rated games are a bit harder to justify from a legal perspective (especially since M rated games are approved for children, at least 17 year old children). But one could still argue there is harm in video games when dealing with young kids playing age appropriate games, even if such harm currently isn't legally prevented. But But to do this would suggest banning all video game ads for any higher rated game. Definitely for M rated games, arguably for T rated games.
As a side note, there is also a big issue with games that are rated M that should really be rated AO if there was an consistency, and what it means for M rated games being approved for children, such as GTA V being M rated despite plenty of material that would be considered unfit and potentially illegal to directly provide to a 17 year old child.
In the old good times British American Tobacco had a plan to start selling candies with nicotine so that they would get children hooked before they can smoke. They had to abandon the plan because sometimes children eat so much candy that they would get overdose and nicotine poisoning.
We shouldn’t outlaw vaping, but we do need to clamp down on targeting kids with their design and marketing. Maybe we should force all vape packages to include information on the harmful effects of nicotine.
Taxes have also escalated year on year, so it now costs around £12.50 (~$15) for a pack of 20 cigarettes - I guess this has cut smoking rates more than the graphic imagery.
At the very best, I think we should ban all advertising and paid marketing of addictive substances, and tax them heavily enough to provide free anti-addiction services to anybody who wants them. The whole theory of free markets, after all, is people making rational decisions, and the point of addictive products is to prevent them from doing so.
There are a ton of assumptions packed into these two sentences. I'm a nicotine addict, and I hate smoking (which I've done for many years), but I love nicotine; I did even before I was an addict. Vaping provides me with all the benefits of nicotine with very few of the side effects that smoking brings; nicotine patches and gums, even the lowest dosage, are way too high for me and lead to extreme anxiety (among other side effects).
I don't want to quit nicotine, I just want a better delivery system. For me, the Juul is perfect.
2. alcohol and coffee are addictive substances.
88k people die from alcohol every year:
3. how about cars? 37k people die from cars every year (not including pollution-related diseases): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_vehicle_fatality_rate_in...
Alcohol and caffeine are at this point culturally established, so rooting them out is more trouble then it's worth. But we have the opportunity to stop Juul from foisting a highly profitable new addiction on millions, so I think the cost-benefit tradeoffs are different.
I'm entirely fine with banning private cars. Let's start by licensing and regulating them and their owners. Then we'll just keep ratcheting up safety requirements until the death toll is very low and most people are riding in safer vehicles driven by competent professionals. Looking at the progress Amsterdam has been making, I figure we can do it in 30 years if we put our minds to it.
no, I never saw that memo. I'm in favor of banning many things, including but not limited to the (literal) murder trade. I'm pretty sure you are too. and the fact that people still buy murders doesn't make anyone argue that murder should be legalised.
and if you want something benign, how about partially hydrogenated vegetable oil?
> 3. how about cars?
well, at this point I'd be happy trying the licence and regulate approach. at the moment, licensing is a farce and government thinks making roads more dangerous is how you make them safer. but that's a whole nother hn thread.
Courts have long held (in multiple countries) that average teenagers are not responsible enough to make certain decisions and need to be protected until they are more mature. That’s the basic reasoning behind my opinion to not outlaw outright, but to at least not target vulnerable populations.
Humans absolutely need to be protected against themselves in this case.
I'm not a smoker, but man did this comment send a chill down my spine.
saying that there's a "lack of prohibition" in cigarettes is kinda missing the point. the fact that one particular approach to discouraging a disapproved substance failed, doesn't mean another approach isn't being tried and - as you note - even successfully.
The claim was that humans need to be protected from themselves (in the context of the GP comment, this would mean a ban).
I meant to imply that since smoking rates declined steadily without a ban, the claim that prohibition is the correct answer because we humans can't stop trading short term pleasure for long term pain seems dubious.
That's even without considering our extensive experience with what happens when we prohibit substances which sellers want to sell and still not insignificant parts of the population want to buy.
the effectiveness of bans is far from univocal (which you see to admit by using a condition which would let you move the goalposts whenever i find a counter argument), and a ban on new nicotine products today would be completely different from the ban on alcohol in 1920s America. success doesn't have to be 100% for it to be good policy either, as the ban on murder shows.
The effectiveness of the campaigns shows that given enough information we can in fact change our behaviours without needing to resort to prohibition, which is probably how I should have phrased my first response and skipped all of the rhetoric.
There is also reason to believe (though more research is needed) that vaping removes 90+ percent of the harms of tobacco use.
Banning them then looks like an overreaction and would be counter-productive. Restrictions on advertising and other methods to attempt to cut down numbers of new addicts? Sure, that seems more reasonable.
Count one is civil RICO. Make of that what you will.
Edit: Very similar to this: https://www.classaction.org/media/nessmith-v-juul-labs-et-al...
but this "Juul targeting children" thing is not new. i know they've been the focus of the US gov in the past, and they enacted some changes to their marketing (including removing some flavours and the like).
not sure what sparked this case thou, as in Europe (where i'm located) the whole tobacco industry is tightly regulated. but we can still get our nicotine without the government banning it (see San Francisco), although at a much lower strength (1.8 vs 5.0 in the states). this lower strength also helped.
so I hope due to this case Juul removes all this marketing BS and simply focus on their initial primary goal: making people drop tobacco and cigarettes.
I vaped a lot, lost my vape and didn't buy a new one. The period afterwards, with no vape/nicotine, was completely unproblematic, I had no issues quitting at all.