Shared from the 1/24/2019 The Denver Post eEdition

We were appalled that teens are using JUUL

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Re: “Don’t let Big Tobacco get away with murder, again,” Jan. 17 guest commentary

Our mission is to improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers because, as Ken Tuchman wrote in The Denver Post this month, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death worldwide.

Our founders first started developing an alternative to cigarettes when they were graduate students and smokers themselves. Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult. The average adult smoker tries to quit more than 30 times before finding success. That is why the JUUL system represents an unprecedented opportunity. Studies have shown that 40 percent to 56 percent of adult smokers who purchased and used JUUL products fully switch from combustible cigarettes within 90 days of use.

The fact that it has taken off with youth is as appalling to us as it is to you. Many of us at JUUL Labs are parents and know that strong action is required. We strongly support raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vaping products, to 21. This is something former Gov. John Hickenlooper recently called for, and it would be a vital step to restrict youth access and ultimately reduce youth use.

We also implemented an aggressive youth prevention action plan in November, overhauling how we run our business with a renewed focus on limiting the access and use of JUUL products by youth.

One aspect of this plan addresses JUULpod flavors like Mango, Fruit, Creme and Cucumber, which we launched as effective tools to help adult smokers switch from cigarettes. We are starting to see the critical impact these products have through our behavioral-science program. Still, we understand that flavored products that appeal to adults may also appeal to youth. That is why our action plan suspended the distribution of those flavored JUULpods to traditional retail stores.

We don’t want anyone who doesn’t smoke or already use nicotine to use JUUL products — especially youth. It is antithetical to our mission. We believe our comprehensive action plan, along with 21-plus laws on all tobacco products, can help successfully address this public health concern while preserving access for adult smokers looking to make the switch.

Ashley Gould is the chief administrative officer at JUUL Labs.

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