JUUL Labs, the San Francisco-based vaping giant, is poised to release cool new technology.
For teenagers believing its cool to be seen “JUULing,” the news is not so cool.
JUUL is planning to launch a redesigned, Bluetooth-enabled vaping device in Isreal and select Western European countries, focusing on greater safeguards to prevent use by minors.
The original product was primarily intended to help measure the nicotine intake by former smokers of combustible cigarettes. The new JUUL bluetooth device includes software designed to verify a user’s age, JUUL CEO Kevin Burns announced in a press release.
As part of the new Bluetooth technology, the vape locks after detecting school-ground “geofences,” Bloomberg Business reported.
The company, which possesses approximately 70 percent of the U.S. market share, has come under constant fire from federal, health, legal and school officials for apparently encouraging teen nicotine habits. The industry’s top demographic remains the age group between 15 and 24 years old, according to various reports.
JUUL’s age-verification technology was programmed to aid against illegal inhales by minors, Burns told Bloomberg Business, adding, “we’re not a lifestyle brand, we’re a functional product.”
“E-cigarettes may present an important opportunity for adult smokers to transition off combustible tobacco products. We don’t want the product to seem cool.”
Especially for teens.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates 2.1 million adolescents and young adults vaped last year. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in June that vaping can “rewire” the brains of some adolescents, potentially causing an addiction to nicotine.
“Public health opportunities are put at risk if all we do is hook another generation of kids on nicotine and tobacco products through alternatives like e-cigarettes,” Gottlieb said.
With the FDA blockading the release of new e-cigarette products, JUUL’s cool Bluetooth tech will not be available in the U.S. anytime soon.
“Cool,” American teens say.
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