In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a Juul spokesperson said the company used influencers in the "small, short-term pilot project" that ended last year. The spokesperson said the company paid less than $10,000 to less than 10 smokers or former smokers over the age of 30.
The survey has been ongoing since last year, even before the tobacco group Altria Group invested more than $12 billion to acquire a 35% stake in the startup. The first FTC letter requesting Juul to provide marketing information was sent in September. In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several state attorneys are also investigating Juul's marketing practices. The FDA asked Juul to provide information that would explain why these devices are popular with young people, and then check the company's office for relevant documents.
Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns warned in an interview this week that non-smokers should never use their company's products. Burns said in an interview with CBS This Morning: "Don't use steam e-cigarettes." "Don't use Juul." He continued, the product was not designed for people who have not yet had a "pre-existing relationship" with nicotine.
In a 2018 report, Surgeon General of the United States wrote that the proportion of young people using steam e-cigarettes has increased significantly over the past few years, with particular attention to the popularity of Juul in its consultations. A study published earlier this year found that people who started smoking during adolescence were more likely to smoke in later life.
Juul is now working hard to get out of the teen market. The company should introduce a Bluetooth-enabled e-cigarette that requires users to submit a government-issued photo ID to use the product. It also prompted retailers to install e-cigarette age verification systems on their point-of-sale software. The company is willing to offer up to $100 million in rewards to help them do so.