Juul e-cigarettes get a bad rap for surge in teen use but adults say the fruity flavors help them quit smoking

Larry McLaughlin bought his wife a Juul e-cigarette for Christmas as a stocking stuffer two years ago.

While she didn’t care for it, he did. And nearly two years later, the 62-year-old construction worker still puffs on mango-flavored nicotine pods every day. It’s the first time in more than 40 years of smoking and at least a dozen attempts to quit that McLaughlin, who lives in suburban Chicago, has successfully stopped smoking tobacco.

Juul founders Adam Bowen and James Monsees created Juul to do just that: help themselves and other adults stop smoking. But it’s gotten a bad rap in recent months as federal health regulators question whether its popular candy flavors — including mango, creme and fruit — are at least partly responsible for the 77 percent surge in vaping use among high school students over the past year.

Stories like McLaughlin’s are what Juul wants to hear more of — not the ones about teens usage. Juul CEO Kevin Burns told CNBC that Juul isn’t supposed to be cool for kids or hook nonsmokers on nicotine. “It’s not designed for them. It’s not meant for them,” he said.

“I’ve had a couple of cigarettes here and there, and every time I put one in my mouth and bite it and smoke it, it tastes awful. I think to myself, why did I do this for eight years? How did I put up with this for eight years?”-Ryan Storey, auto technician

Target market

Adults like McLaughlin are Juul’s target market, and anecdotal evidence suggests it is helping some longtime cigarette addicts quit smoking as the product was intended.

Juul “was designed to replicate the nicotine experience and take away the combustion associated with smoking. And frankly, the product works,” said Burns, who was previously Chobani yogurt’s chief operating officer.

Quitting smoking is challenging, even though the risks are widely known. Cigarette smoking kills about 480,000 Americans every year, making it the leading cause of preventable death. The medical costs associated with smoking-related health problems are a staggering $170 billion a year, with an additional $156 billion in lost productivity from premature death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more at https://www.cnbc.com

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