I recently traveled to the DECA National Competition, known as the International Career Development Conference, this year where all fifty states, and even some territories (Guam and Puerto Rico) were represented. “Want a pull to relax,?” a Kentucky student asked me while we both waited for our roleplays. Seven hundred miles apart, a student secretly Juuling in his high school’s bathroom and the student from Kentucky asking me if I’d like a pull found themselves in the same position: addicted to a new type of vape, one containing five-percent nicotine and other artificial substances and chemicals used for flavoring.
Although users can develop sickness and perhaps even cancer (research is still being done), that is not the point ladies and gentlemen; the point is that a new vaping device, when there are multitudes of competitors, swept the country by surprise. Every gas station sells Juul pods and devices, but how? Simple: teenagers.
We all know how teenagers have gotten their hands on Juuls, but the Juuls’ success is completely attributable to the use by teenagers. Once teenagers began using them, they became a social media fad. Through social media, more teens wanted them; as a result, more flavors were made, cheaper competition and then massive marketing campaigns. Many teens even began concocting their own flavors, adding some speciality “twists.” Within months, the school bathroom urinal was filled with Juul pods, and clouds somehow found their way into the stalls.
The company is now worth nearly $15 billion dollars. With shareholders such as Tiger Global Management and the mutual fund firm Fidelity Investments, Juul now has the money to expand their market.
I recently heard a commercial on the radio where a mother claimed to be elated that she was no longer the “smoking mom,” all because she used her trusty Juul. You know what Ladies and Gentlemen, marketing to those attempting to overcome addiction is not only ingenious, but complete targeted marketing. Interestingly enough, its working! Adults and even parents, openly sporting their new Juulery walk all around New York City.
Whether they are overcoming addiction, or hopped on the hype train, Juul has taken a hint form the cigarette business and started originally marketing to teens all in the hopes that it will spread like wildfire. Which turned out to be a recipe for success.
However, there may be a new growth of teen addiction. It is no secret that current high school students are overworked as college acceptance rates continue to decline. Community service, homework, extracurriculars, and a plethora of Advanced Placement courses result in unfathomable amounts of stress. This coupled with the underdeveloped teen brain and teen angst makes teens the easiest target. It’s also no secret that that young adults are obsessed with making money and link it directly to overall happiness. That said, they work hard, but continue to feel unsatisfied, leading to potential mental illness and disarray. Or the need to unwind and as that student from Kentucky put it best, take a “pull” to relax.
Juuls are on the streets, in pocketbooks, in high school bathrooms, on social media. There seems to be no way to stop them and the trend doesn’t look to be diminishing. So, when you see a mother strolling a newborn while using a juul, make sure to thank America’s youth for their humble contribution.
By: Jacob Ribotsky