JUUL and the Vaping Revolution
In the summer of 2018, San Francisco-based electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) maker JUUL Labs, was experiencing exponential growth. Sales of its JUUL e-cigarette had increased by 783% over the preceding year, projected revenues for 2018 topped $940 million, and the company had captured over 72% of the U.S. e-cigarette market. The company's success had thrust it into the spotlight, and JUUL Labs found itself at the center of considerable controversy. Whereas the company's stated goal was to provide tobacco smokers with a less harmful e-cigarette alternative, JUUL Labs's products had proven widely popular with teenage high school students who had never smoked. Some advocacy groups and public policy makers speculated that the company had purposefully marketed its products to minors-an allegation JUUL Labs's executives strongly denied. The company now faced an FDA probe and investigations by at least two state attorney generals. It needed a strategy to deal with its mounting regulatory and public relations problems.