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Juul Labs CEO to Step Down (bloomberg.com)
121 points by JumpCrisscross 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 146 comments

And he is being replaced by a former Marlboro employee. I am sure the public will feel so much safer knowing that the advertising will be handled by a Big Tobacco veteran moving forward.

The public should probably feel a bit better about having a tobacco veteran who knows better than to get the bosses in trouble by deliberately market to kids. Juul's former CEO took the startup strategy: disruptfluence the vape market by winnovating a "let's just sell them in high schools directly" strategy.

Philip Morris' did $29.6 billion in sales last year. I'm not convinced a tobacco company veteran actually believes advertising to kids is immoral, given how much money is at stake. A tobacco veteran would have insider knowledge of how the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement[0] came to be, and how better to skirt those regulations.

[0] https://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/topics/commercial-toba...

Kevin Burns was only CEO for about 1.5 years, so I would put the blame on marketing to kids on his predecessor.

Falsely claiming that Juul was selling their products directly to high schoolers inside high schools isn't a very strong argument.

Edit: I agree examples cited below arguably constitute selling.

That said, if this is what parent was referring to, would likely have been better to say so since this isn't what selling implies when stated without any qualifier.


> In April 2017, a Juul representative visited the Dwight School in New York City to meet with students — with no teachers present — and told them the company’s e-cigarettes were “totally safe.”

> Other schools across the country were offered $10,000 from the e-cigarette company for the right to talk to students in classrooms or after school.

> In Richmond, Calif. last year, Juul gave the Police Activities League $90,000 to offer the company’s vaping education program “Moving Beyond” to middle school and high school students who faced suspension for using cigarettes.

Oh, interesting, fair enough thanks. I agree that could be considered selling.

“Selling” can mean a general sales pitch (what is quoted) or actual transactions of goods (not what is quoted). Those two meanings have very different implications.

Not defending either of those, but making a distinction in meaning.

Yeah... "selling their products directly" is not appropriate phrasing for referring to a sales pitch to a group of individuals.

Even if it's still a very bad thing.

That last point is maybe a little more legitimate, at least from this random commenters position.

On the one hand, you have what sounds like straight up abusive targeted marketing of a drug at a vulnerable population: direct meeting with children, no teachers present (!?), "totally safe", etc. This seems reprehensible.

On the other hand, if it's an "education program" specifically targeted (and limited) to students who have already demonstrated that they have a cigarette problem, it seems like it could be a genuinely well intended part of a program to provide harm mitigation and a (apparently fairly successful) tool to help quit. I'm a bit more sympathetic to that version, even if it's still financially motivated.

On the gripping hand, vaping has unclear risks of its own that we don't fully understand yet, and even setting aside the improvement going from smoke to vapor, any nicotine product is still going to be an addiction risk.

How is it acceptable for a school accepting money to subject their students to sales pitches for any company, let alone e-cigarettes? Unbelievable.

Given the way teenagers don’t really fawn over authority figures, this seems like the most counterproductive thing they could have done. Stupid.

Plant the idea in their head, even if they don't like you as an authority, and you might end up with a customer for life once those kids forget you and go looking for a vice.

$10k per room of kids is probably a low cost of customer acquisition for a potential lifetime addiction.

It can be selective. I suspect some teens will happily accept an authority figure who says "ignore your parents and health teachers, who say vaping is bad". Juul certainly seemed to think it was worth the money.

I disagree, they could care less. This has very little to do with what drive teen vice use, the danger/badness is part of the equation. If you take away cigarettes and vaping, they’ll just move on to marijuana or heroin, or maybe glue. Nothing about “what’s healthy” is driving their choice here.

> If you take away cigarettes and vaping, they’ll just move on to marijuana or heroin, or maybe glue. Nothing about “what’s healthy” is driving their choice here.

This claim is pretty strongly refuted by all available evidence, given that (before vaping), tobacco use among teenagers had been in a consistent decline for decades, without a corresponding consistent increase in marijuana or heroin use among teenagers.

Even if tobacco use was decreasing, that doesn’t mean something else wasn’t increasing in its stead. It could have been ridlin, opioids, meth, etc...I’m not sure what the popular bad stuff between 2000-2010 was, perhaps some younger HN readers could fill us in.

> Even if tobacco use was decreasing, that doesn’t mean something else wasn’t increasing in its stead. It could have been ridlin, opioids, meth, etc...I’m not sure what the popular bad stuff between 2000-2010 was, perhaps some younger HN readers could fill us in.

As someone who used to work in drug policy during this exact time period and has a very strong grasp of the facts on the matter, I can assure you that your speculation is entirely without merit. Teen tobacco use decreased. It didn't pawn off those would-be tobacco users onto other drugs, as if drugs were some fully fungible entity in teenagers' minds. Teen tobacco use decreased, full-stop.

Maybe you could go find some evidence for your pet theory before considering that pet theory to be accurate?

An adult saying, "Hey guys, try this cool, totally safe, vaping product!", doesn't exactly sound like the typical authority figure that a teenager rebels against.

Do you really think that cliche even applies here?

The New York Times isn’t a very credible source at this point.

All the 'big names' companies like 'Juul' and 'Blu' are heavily invested in by 'Big Tobacco'. These are the companies you see in gas stations and convenience stores across the America.

But these big companies can't compete with all the Vape Shops that are insanely popular and are everywhere.

This is why there is just a big hubbub over regulation and the deaths over black market Marijuana cartridges. These massive corporations can afford to deal with things like FDA certification of flavors and such things.

Were as the small companies, that make up the bulk of the vape market, cannot. So they will get pushed out of the market and 'big tobacco' will be the only ones that are allowed to sell in the USA. They really don't care if they have bad names and are used as targets by the regulators when they are going to be the only ones allowed to sell to the public.

Governments are going along with this because tobacco is a massive tax base. They can't regulate small business and internet sales in the same manner they can regulate and tax a small number of massive corporations.


According to 'Lung Cancer Fact Sheet' there was a estimated 154,000 Americans that would of died to lung cancer in 2018. Tobacco smoking contributes to all types of cancer.

This is why Vaping, which should cut these lung cancer rates by over 95%, is one of the most important public health break-throughs in recent memory.

If allowed to continue to exist in the way it is now it should do more to cut down on cancer deaths then billions of dollars in medical research spent in the past 20 years.

People have found that vaping is massively more effective at helping them to quit smoking compared to patches, gum, or any other medical-grade nicotine delivery method. It's extremely cheap, it's effective, and it's safe and has none of the side effects associated with any other type of drug being sold by doctors to help people quit.

And yet you have politicians now scrambling all over each other to flush this miracle down the toilet to protect their tax revenue and help out 'Big Tobacco'.

And when you look close at the facts behind 'vaping deaths' it's pretty obvious that these are related to drug prohibition more then anything else. These are deaths that are massively contributed to by regulation. If people bought those cartridges from gas stations or vape shops they would still be alive, but they couldn't because they were illegal in their states.

"This is why Vaping, which should cut these lung cancer rates by over 95%, is one of the most important public health break-throughs in recent memory."

Not so sure about this. If the recent lung illnesses are tied to vaping, then that really can't be true.

Also, the 154,000 dying of lung cancer would undoubtedly be those who started smoking tobacco decades ago. The overall trend of smoking tobacco is downward. That alone would decrease the future number of lung cancer deaths. Hard to pin that on vaping, which seems to be (even just a few short years after widespread adoption) is leading to sudden cases of lung illnesses/deaths.

There needs to be some more information out there as to what specifically is causing this illness. Everyone is quick to lump all vapes together when there are a ton of rumors that the ones making people sick/dead are blackmarket/bootleg THC cartridges from China. For all of these illnesses and deaths to come on so quickly, it seems more like a tainted product than the typical PG/VG/flavoring mixture causing this. We already know smoking kills. It kills way more people every day than have ever died from vaping. If we aren't going to ban cigarettes too, then we need to regulate them both equally. I don't think vape ads on TV are appropriate and Juul employees visiting schools is definitely not good, regardless of whether or not the kids are 18+. They can be used as smoking cessation but they can also just be used as an alternative as compared to patches and gum which are really only good for cessation.

"Rumors" from e.g. the Minnesota department of public health

I hadn't seen anything official, only people saying it in comments so I didn't want to imply it was a fact.

and if the recent diseases are caused by an additive, like vitamin e, then the overall panic is disingenuous.

>They say black market operators are using more thickening agents to dilute THC oil because of a crackdown by state authorities that has made the oil scarcer on the black market.

Maybe regulators should be blamed for causing a scummy black market, instead of pointing the finger at "vaping."


Six or so people, many with pre-existing ailments, died in connection with some kind of contaminated batch of black market THC cartridges.

Thank you for this. I have struggled with addiction my whole life and switched to a tank based e-cig seven years ago and have not had a full cigarette since.

I say fill cigarette because I use fruit flavored liquids and it helped me develop an aversion to the taste of Tobacco and smoke. A few years ago I had a few drags of a cigarette at a party and it made me want to throw up.

Not saying what I do is harmless, but it's a major harm reduction for me. I went from having some pretty serious lung issues to being able to do intense cardio workouts for several hours without any problems breathing.

When I smoked, I was addicted to (Korean) menthols while normal cigarettes would make me puke. So there is definitely something going on there.

I don’t vape, but if they banned flavored liquids, they better ban menthol cigarettes as well.

I believe in the case of NY it was all flavors except menthol that were banned.

Ya, it is politically too difficult to ban menthol at the moment.

Menthol competes for the same enzyme that breaks down nicotine, keeping nicotine active longer. It is also a moderately strong kappa-opioid receptor agonist: vaping too strong menthol liquid can induce extreme dysphoria, anxiety and panic attacks.

Can you elaborate?

Menthols are especially popular with African Americans, which has been a big consideration in not banning them so far.

I thought that stereotype was out the door with Billy Dee Williams and Colt 45 ads but OK.

The UK picture is the big tobacco brands are everywhere and so ludicrously expensive. Yet barely sell, and don't get much point of sale love from the retailer. They feel like a line their tobacco rep gave them a discount to carry, yes just about everywhere. £1-£1.50 for 10ml in a vape shop, £1 in the Poundshop and discounters, £4-£5 in a corner shop or petrol station. You can wait out vaping 100x easier than waiting out needing a smoke. Well I always could. Seemed like there was something "extra" in the tobacco more addictive than the nicotine.

The few places that were moving some have mostly started selling independent vaping brands. My local petrol station now carries a couple. Still expensive, but "sanely" expensive.

With the exception of Juul, big tobacco appears to be failing badly at vaping.

You’re not wrong about there being something ”extra” in tobacco, and it’s not being talked about publicly.

See https://www.gwern.net/Nicotine#addictiveness

Interesting. Not come across that before, but it gels with my experience. I found it far easier quitting vaping than switching tobacco to vapes, nor had a huge issue pausing vaping for a day or two.

The tar and burning sensation were probably just as important as nicotine in building an addiction. This is why nicotine gum doesn’t do it for many people, and why vaping is more effective for smoking cessation (the steam effect brings back some of the burning tar feel, while you have something to hold...).

Yeah, I'm sure that's a good part of it. There was still a sense of cigarettes "giving a little more" - hard to describe as I really couldn't say what, the couple of times I had a smoke after starting vaping in earnest.

Vaping didn’t work for me when I tried quitting the first time, but that was the early days. I eventually just went cold turkey, but that took a lot of longer than I would have liked.

States tend to increase per pack taxes because of the reduction in smoking. They don't engage in revenue maximization.

> Were as the small companies, that make up the bulk of the vape market, cannot

Juul owns 70% of the vape market.

The parent comment is referring to the explosion of standalone vape shops that sell a wide variety of products. Not a reference to Juul being a small company. This is the biggest fail in all of this, there have been a huge number of successful shops opening up that are all but put out of business by these bans.

70% of a cherry picked subset of the market that excludes vape shops and online.

From previous discussions here, I took that Juul juice is formulated differently than other vaping juices, with a much higher nicotine amount.

I agree vaping can help stop cigarette use, but I am not sure they are all equally good at this.

As an ex smoker and now ex vaper, who wouldn't have quit cigs without vaping, Juul definitely feels to be something apart. Part of the problem, not the solution.

Their USP seems to be delivering a much higher "hit" more quickly, trying to give a hit like your first ever cigarette. Never tried one and don't intend to so have no clue how true this is, but it was definitely part of the buzz around them.

juul is a nicotine salt instead of freebase nicotine, making it unique among market offerings.

Well some regular vape mods can use nicotine salts, so I don't see what's unique. Never tried these so I have no idea why that's different as I said. Just what I picked up from the buzz around their launch about the "faster better hit".

what's unique is that juul goes at 50mg of nic, where most small operators would stop at 20mg. with step downs all the way to 0mg. juul only offers 50mg. (20mg in Europe as that is the legal max)

> This is why Vaping, which should cut these lung cancer rates by over 95%, is one of the most important public health break-throughs in recent memory.

I mean smoking shouldn't really cause cancer to begin with. It really depends on how much radioactive material is in ecigs, which afaik we don't know yet.

Radioactivity is not the driver of lung cancer in cigarettes.

So you're saying the EPA and CDC are making it up?

No, I'm saying it's well known that carcinogenic compounds like tar are what causes the lung cancer. It's not radioactivity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_(tobacco_residue)

The radioactive materials are just a bonus you get for free.

Was that sarcasm?

Not just some employee, but "chief growth officer at the Marlboro maker"...

Technically he worked for "Altria" ... surely a better name than Cancer Stick Inc.

I originally had the word "executive," but realized that would be technically incorrect.

Why would that be incorrect?

Altria (Phillip Morris) owns 35% of the company already. They've been part of Big Tobacco for a while.

I have a very mixed reaction to all the e-cigarette shenanigans.

There's part of me that feels like it's a health corollary to the Jevons Paradox, if you make nicotine delivery potentially less damaging, it would stand to follow you lower the risk barrier and might end up with more nicotine users than you started with.

I'm def not in high school anymore, and maybe for that reason, the messaging I've personally seen from Juul does is entirely different. Literally the only stuff I've seen from Juul in the wild has been,

* "If you weren't already smoking, don't use Juul" * "we support any effort to raise the minimum age of purchasing nicotine products to 21 (T21 laws)"

I certainly wouldn't be taken aback if this were just one face of a many-faced beast, and with the other hand they were trying to cultivate a new generation of customers.

But it's with a sort of bemused annoyance that the common refrain I've heard from activists and public policy folks ends up converging at "Juul should have never existed." The cynic in me thinks it wonderful if all our problems had the decency to never exist. It just seems aggravating of all issues, the wheels of the machine politic turn so freely for flavored e-cigarettes.

I've noticed a major cognitive bias most people have regarding vaping. Basically along the lines of "smoking's very bad for health, therefore vaping (or nicotine consumption) is probably pretty bad too".

Here's the facts. Smoking is bad because smoldering organic compounds are very damaging. It doesn't matter what is being burned, all smoke is bad in roughly equal proportion to the volume of smoke being inhaled. It's why sitting by a wood-burning fireplace does as much damage as a pack of cigarettes.

(As an aside, we generally don't see the same health problems with cannabis smokers as we do with tobacco smokers. That's primarily because cannabis smokers consume significantly less volume than tobacco smokers. A pack-a-day smoker is smoldering 140 grams of dried organic material. A very heavy cannabis user might go through 7 grams of high-THC weed per week.)

So the fact is we don't really know much about the long-term health consequences of vaping. It simply hasn't been widespread for long enough for us to gather any large-scale epidemiological data. It's possible it may be very harmful. It's also possible that it may be basically harmless.

But the fact that smoking is unhealthy tells us nothing about vaping. There are no smoldering organic compounds involved in vaping. Therefore if it is unhealthy it would be because of a totally separate mechanism. In general there are very very few human activities that are as unhealthy as smoking. Heavy smoking literally quadruples all cause mortality.

There are many many activities that push humans' physiological baseline. High-altitude living, exotic or restricted diets, mega-doses of vitamins, scuba diving, high salt consumption, high-dose hallucinogens, keeping a nocturnal schedule, heavy caffeine consumption, drinking too much or too little water, being a radiation worker, artificial sweeteners, heavy manual labor, tons and tons of synthesized dyes and chemicals. Most of them are basically harmless, and none of them have anywhere near the health impact of smoking.

It would quite unexpected if vaping just coincidentally happened to be one of the few human activities that had a smoking-magnitude effect. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not at all.

As for nicotine consumption, the balance of the evidence is that it's very slightly unhealthy at worse, and potentially beneficial for neurological health.[1]


Smokers switching to ecigs is a good thing. Significantly proved health outcomes.

But kids adopting flavored ecigs and beginning smoking is horrible.

So we need to limit ecigs to the first use case and minimize the second otherwise ecigs/vaping could be an overall net negative.

So I do strongly favor no advertising at all and no flavors or colors except mentol or something else which appeals to existing smokers.

Fruity flavors were a life-saver for me, because it allowed me to distance myself from tobacco flavor so much, that it made me nauseous when I would try to smoke a real cigarette again. It just so happens that the "something else which appeals to existing smokers", e.g., fruity flavors, may also be appealing to non-smokers. However, I don't see that as a strong enough argument to ban them.

I know several adults who vape, and none of them choose plain tobacco flavors. I understand that marketing to teens is horrible, but the argument that all flavored vapes should be banned doesn't make any sense to me. If Stoli decided they wanted to market blueberry vodka to teens, go after the company, don't ban all fruit flavored liquor!

My concern with 'fruity flavors' is the molecular diversity. Many of these compounds are considered safe for human consumption (edible) but under-researched when vaporized an inhaled, which has the potential for formation of novel unexpected compounds, especially in heterogenous solutions.

I think the risk from these compounds is likely an order of magnitude less than the risks of cigarette smoking, and these risks will decrease as we get more data on longer-term use for these compounds.

I read one study that found benzene formation in vapor from higher-watt devices, but not in lower ones. I think using minimum necessary power is a good harm mitigation measure until more data comes in, that would likely help with flavors as well.

Seems like stringent labeling requirements for vape juice would be a cheap win for regulators and consumers. Give us an MSDS with the exact constituents.

I'm curious why you feel that restricting all flavoring in e-cig juice would be a good thing. You do realize that would just push things underground and out of a somewhat regulated market even more... It doesn't take a rocket scientist to make their own flavored juice at home after ordering the supplies... Not to mention the disrupt that would have on local business with the tens of thousands of vape shops that have popped up across the country, all of which require the customer to be 18 or 21 years old..

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to roll a cigarette either, but I think most people buy them in stores.

The entire point of the original comment was limiting underage consumption. Not sure what this proves.

You can change a lot of things before the market moves underground. You increase cigarette taxes and smoking rates go down [0]. It could have moved underground, since it doesn't take a rocket scientist to roll one, but it didn't because that's not the dominant factor. If the flavor really really matters to people maybe what you said will happen, but I'd bet against that.

here in Germany distilling your own spirits is illegal (I think there's an exception for very small personal amounts), and yet I don't think I've ever seen some sort of early 20th century moonshine market.

I've seen these arguments about enforcement frequently but we're talking about modern governments here. If Uncle Sam wants to stop flavoured smoking they will be successful. They can go after online platforms that don't shut these exchanges down, they can go after individual sellers with harsh punishments, and so on.

I very much doubt the margins on vaping products are so high that someone is going to risk their neck over it. Menthol cigarettes in the EU were banned a few years ago and I can't remember having seen one in a long time.

My understanding is while some EU States have taken it upon themselves to implement a ban sooner, the EU directive banning them doesn't come into effect till 2020. You can still happily buy Menthol cigarettes in the UK, for example.

Check out "Air stills". Distilling your own alcohol is illegal (in US), but it's now about as easy as operating a coffee maker.

Alternatively we can inform children about the risks of using e-cigarettes and let them make the decision on their own?

Existing smokers like the different flavors as well and it's definitely one of the appeals it has over smoking cigarettes.

EDIT: I'd like to make the point that I'm not a proponent of children making their own decisions as a child. We've already accepted as a society (generally) that children do not have the same agency as adults. I'm suggesting that people are allowed to inform children about the risks just as we do with smoking and drinking and allow them to make that decision when they are able to.

I don't know if you've ever met a child, but informing them of risks and letting them make their own decisions isn't always the best idea. I don't know how many times I've been at restaurants and heard parents say "be careful, the plate is hot" followed by the sound of the kid crying because they didn't listen and grabbed the hot plate/food.

I'm not suggesting we should be letting 12 year olds vape. I'm saying that we treat it like other vices that people imbibe in.

...by not letting children make their own choices weather or not to imbibe. We don't allow kids to buy weed or alcohol either. They don't make informed decisions because they are literally incapable of it. They do not have adult brains yet.

That's exactly what I said, though? We allow adults to imbibe in weed (in some places) and alcohol (in most places). The decision to partake in these things doesn't happen when you're an adult. The choice is often informed by a combination of their peers, their parents, and their education at a much earlier age.

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough; I don't think children should be able to use vape products just as I don't think they should be drinking or smoking. I do think that they should be allowed to make that choice when they're an adult.


It’s not libertarians claiming that children can make their own life-changing healthcare decisions.

No libertarian of my acquaintance would say that marketing addiction to children is just the free market but that’s what’s happening here. I just object to libertarians being tarred with that brush.

Who is?

I'm assuming this is referencing hormone blockers or hormone supplementation in children that identify as trans.

Also, (forgive me if I get the jargon wrong here...) isn't the vaping health crisis the article mentions due to sketchy THC vaping solutions that have Vitamin E oil in them? Not Juul's nicotine stuff?

I.e. because THC isn't water-soluble, it has to be suspended/dissolved in some oil-based thing. Lipids + lungs = BAD.

Vitamin E acetate and myclobutanil are the most likely culprits. Myclobutanil is a fungicide that cannabis growers use to prevent mildew. It also turns into cyanide when heated.

Speculation: State governments are leveraging the hysteria to slow a loss in excise tax revenue stemming from the decline in combustible cigarette use.

Yes, the vaping deaths almost certainly are from black market, contaminated THC pods/cartridges.

But why let a few facts get in the way of perfectly good outrage?

Note: I'm not a smoker, but I feel strongly that vaping has the potential to dramatically decrease smoking deaths. More research is needed in lieu of the current media and government-driven hysteria.

Problem is that even though the Juul cartridges are proprietary, that hasn't stopped people from making Juul-compatible off-brand products. There are of course other concerns besides the vaporised oils.

Regulatory crackdown was probably spawned by the deaths caused by bad THC solvents. But while regulators peruse the industry they found that nicotine vapor companies like Juul had plenty of their own misdeeds.

That's not how I see it. Regulators started cracking down on JUUL a couple years ago and drove the value of the company down until Phillip Morris bought 35÷. Then they backed off until JUUL started losing market share to the new generation of refillable vapes that use nicotine salt like the JUUL system. The difference? JUUL pods aren't meant to be refilled, and 4 pods with a total of 2 mL of juice will cost $20 in most states. With a refillable system, you can have 30mL of the same strength juice for $20.

So, here come the regulators again to protect big tobacco. They want strict controls on who can manufacture juice. Less competition =more profit. JUUL only has a handful of flavors compared to the thousands of alternatives. So, here come the regulators to limit the flavors. And surely it's just a coincidence that the one flavor they really want to limit it to is tobacco, Phillip Morris's bread and butter.

If you've been vaping a cucumber rosehips menthol juice every day, cigarette will taste like absolute shit. But if you only have the option of vaping tobacco flavored juice? Well, then a cigarette might not sound so bad.

Sure, I agree that JUUL hasn't been an angel, and probably are guilty of marketing to kids. But that all started being investigated well before the tainted THC carts started making people sick.

There is no clear answer yet, but some signs are pointing to the metal parts used in cartridges/vape chambers being the cause.

Maybe just in counterfeit knockoffs, maybe not. It's unclear.

There's two vaping crises.

One is THC vaping solutions that are killing people.

The second is that we're currently living through a meteoric rise in nicotine addiction among teenagers. For a very long time, teenage nicotine use was going down, due to declines in smoking rates. Smoking rates still continue to decline, but nicotine vaping rates have gone up and to the right. 1 in 4 high school students are now vaping nicotine. That number is growing by ~20% year over year.

This is a public health crisis.

> This is a public health crisis.

No, no it's not. It's a manufactured hysteria which is now used by the government to squeeze tobacco companies by the nuts. It's the new 'ear sexing' that dem kids are doing. Its parents too busy to monitor their kids and schools stretched too thin to monitor their bathrooms and hallways. No amount of regulation will fix that. Remember when Marijuana was illegal? Yeah, the kids were totally not smoking it. Thank God for the war on drugs to cut down on teens getting high.

> which is now used by the government to squeeze tobacco companies by the nuts.

As it should. These companies provide absolutely zero benefit to society, and rely on addicts to keep their business going, and they try to get more addicts in the process. Human greed is truly destructive.

mmm.. it depends. Fucking over these companies is a good way to go. But fucking them over just the right amount so that they continue doing business to pay money is not ok. It creates a perverse incentive in which the government actually wants people to buy cigarettes so it can continue the money flow. You'd think that cigarette taxes go into public health but that's not the case. The problem here is that with vaping, people are smoking less, thus buying less cigarettes and paying less to the government via tobacco taxes. Because vape pods/ejuice/ecig hardware is not taxed like cigarettes.

The way I see it, tobacco products should be fully banned. If there are companies that truly want to help the addicts, they can work in a controlled manner, overseen by the government, something like a rehab program. There should be deadlines set by when the rehab programs would end when there are no more smokers left. Easier said than done of course, but I see no effort in that direction.

Is caffeine addiction a serious public health crisis?

Nictoine on its own is no more harmful than caffeine.


Quitting caffeine is as easy as a few days, maybe a week of feeling like shit. Take an aspirin or two, and move on with your life.

Quitting nicotine is a fucking struggle.

It doesn't kill you, but it has negative impacts on your life, when you aren't using. Addicts become really shitty to be around, when they haven't had their hit for a few hours.

What exactly is the public benefit to getting children addicted to a substance that is incredibly difficult to kick?

> Addicts become really shitty to be around, when they haven't had their hit for a few hours.

Oh noes the horror!!! Major public health crisis! An invasion of grumpy assholes. Basically like half of America in the morning...

I'm also not forced to consume caffeine merely by standing next to you.

What is the actual quantity of nicotine in second hand vapor?

Most likely not very high.

Got any studies to back that up?

Seems to be high enough to feel the effect. Never experienced this by just standing next to someone sipping coffee.

Is this confirmed by any studies?

Quitting either can be easy as just not doing it one day, or a fucking struggle. It depends on the person and the use.

Personally I've had an easier time putting down the vape than the coffee cup.

I'd be concerned about high schoolers addicted to caffeine.

If it's not killing people, how is it a health crisis? Would it be a public health crisis if we had a meteoric rise in teens swimming, given that the risk of death or illness from swimming is far higher than it is from vaping?

> If it's not killing people, how is it a health crisis?

I'm not sure we can safely say we know the long-term impact of vaping nicotine yet.

There are also indications that the uptick in vaping has stalled the decline in cigarette smoking.


> I'm not sure we can safely say we know the long-term impact of vaping nicotine yet.

So we can't say if it's a health crisis.. yet. Right? We also don't know of the long-term impact of melatonin but we're not considering people consuming it when they have insomnia to be a health crisis, right?

We've got evidence it's negatively affecting the known health crisis of cigarette smoking.

I'm inclined to treat non-addictive melatonin and extremely-addictive nicotine differently in how we approach potential health risks.

The key word here is addiction.

To be succeeded by a former tobacco executive. The takeover of Juul by big tobacco is now complete, and they have someone with strong experience downplaying, denying and obfuscating to weather the storm.

Next up: regulatory capture. Vaping right now is super cheap because of all the options from different companies. So what's a multibillion dollar international conglomerate to do? Well, make the little guys go away with onerous regulations, of course. It's the American Way™.

Making pure ingredients compliant with good manufacturing process is expensive. It has lots of redundancy and things on the outside we consider waste. But experience tells us all these measures are necessary to ensure we get what we expect to get when we buy products that can cause great harm if incorrect.

> when we buy products that can cause great harm.

Hmmm, just look up Thalidomide and Germany. As well as Sulfa drugs to find out why rigor in testing and efficaciousness as well as purity of ingredients is paramount and why they have established such stringent controls.

A Juul habit is not super cheap, it’s more expensive than an equivalent cigarette habit, by far.

JUUL's competition is super cheap. Which is why JUUL/Phillip Morris will lobby to have most of them regulated out of existence. You can get a bottle of the same strength juice that's in a JUUL pod for the same price as a pack of pods. But the bottle has 30mL and the pack has 2mL.

I'm someone who vapes, and I wouldn't mind more regulation on juices. Nicotine is a very potent chemical, and concentrated solutions are effectively potent poison. A swig from one of these bottles could easily kill you.

At minimum, I believe there should be labeling and quality controls standards, and child-safety caps. A concentration limit may be sensible as well.

Exactly, that's why they want regulatory capture to force people to use their closed systems.

I spend maybe 25 dollars a month in liquid for my tank. None of that money is going to big Tobacco which is why they are going to push for rules that force people to buy their expensive disposable products.

A pack of cigarettes in NY goes for $10+.

A four-pack of Juul pods goes for $16, and each of those four is supposed to be the equivalent of a pack. (And those are the brand-name pods.)

I've heard the Juul pods are the equivalent to a pack in terms of nicotine content, but i don't think that means people go through one pod in the same time as they would go through one pack.

I think you're wrong there, most people I know go through 1 pod per day max.

Depends a lot on the tax situation where you live.

They reached out to me on LinkedIn. Don't know why they need software engineers, but I don't think I'm aligned with their mission -- whatever it may be.

Should've at least talked to a recruiter to hear them out, I'd be too curious not to. Years back I'd had a recruiter for one of the world's largest pornographers reach out to me, was very interesting to learn about what they do and how they do it.

To be honest, I usually don't turn down phone calls for new opportunities -- even if I expect them to not go much of anywhere -- since it's a new connection, and you never know where the conversation could go. In this case, it was the name that threw me off.

I did talk to a recruiter hiring for Juul, the one time they called me. Their only selling point was how fast the company was growing. This was around the time Altria bought them.

Any company big enough to be operating at scale has some software needs and not everyone is fulfilled by SaaS solutions.

Who cares if you're "aligned with a mission"? It's a paycheck.

In addition to the paycheck, some people like to be rewarded with the knowledge (or at least hope) that their work is somehow making the world a slightly better place, or at least not making things worse for somebody.

There are many ways to get a paycheck. What's confusing about having values and working them into your decision about where to get it?

The job I have doesn't improve the world, I accept that. But it also doesn't make the world a worse place. I sure as hell would never work for an industry that's creating or enabling smokers. No matter how legal.

Because this industry is competitive with many employers, I have the luxury of (somewhat) prioritizing my personal values w.r.t my work. Not everyone has that.

Because, in this case, you'd be playing a role in spreading destructive behavior in society. Unlike some other companies which have goods and bads, here we have a company that provides no good whatsoever.

I imagine this is the same thing Facebook employees say when they decide to work on features that invade people's privacy. Great for the person that gets paid, terrible for society.

I think a job at the baby grinding plant has opened up, pay starts at around 500k USD/y you interested?

I get how this is happening and is independent from other things going on in the world... But what is the deal with all these CEO's stepping down?

True randomness doesn't always look like random?

It’s a great way to say “oh, this is so bad, we’ve gotten rid of the horrible man who was responsible!” while also changing absolutely nothing.

Confirmation bias? Better access to information?

Could be, looking at my usual business news site, they got 4 stories about CEO's resigning. Very atypical, but could just be part of a abnormally on a normal distribution.

Recession coming.

I just managed to quit Juul's after a ~5 year binge. It costed me ~60 dollars a week or so and unlike cigarettes where you typically go outside and make a little event out of it, these little guys can be huffed anywhere, so that usually causes you to build a constant huffing habit. Your entire day is constantly revolving around this little device, it terrified me to realize that I needed some external device/chemicals just to feel normal every day.

There is an emerging argument that vaping is less health damaging than smoking and it likely is, however, Nicotine addiction is key to the business model and that will not change.

That's not an emerging argument, that's been the argument from the start.

Assuming that they can remain the only suppliers of Nicotine.

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