and the insane idea supposedly has a verification system that unlocks it for use only to people who are at least 21 years of age. Logistical, technological, ethical, practical and all other reasons aside, this move seems like a sneaky pathway for the company to fast track Juul's products through this upcoming PMTA deadline in May. Perhaps they use this piece of tech to reintroduce their now banned vape eLiquid pods as a kind of FDA approved market safe?
Juul has been accused by lawmakers, health entities, and militarized soccer moms, for fueling the now fading in relevant events alleged teen vaping “epidemic” of 2019. Since Altria bought a near majority stake in the company they have been also fully big tobacco'd to the point where the thing might as well be called a merger, the manufacturer has lost most of it's credibility as having harm reduction as it's aim and been on the receiving end of multiple lawsuits.
In an attempt to counteract their string of bad luck Juul has been doing its anything to convince the FDA and the general public that it intends to do its best to prevent teen vaping. Last Summer it announced a new product that can help monitor users, by collecting information about the user such as when and where they vape, and is even able to utilize a facial recognition feature to keep it out of the hands of children.
The San Francisco based company is expected to present the product to the FDA by May 12th, before the PMTA deadline, and plans to submit over 250,000 pages on the matter, including scientific research, marketing material, and its strategy on preventing and curbing illegal use.
The added functionality comes from an app, and in Canada and the United Kingdom the Juul device app verifies their age and tracks their nicotine consumption. While the U.S. device would be age-locked, it would not be able to track nicotine consumption.
Tobacco giant Altria is helping Juul with its application. “Altria is working day by day with us, side by side, helping us extensively,” said a Juul official. Meanwhile, last November the tobacco company announced plans to lower its 35% stake in Juul Labs by $4.5 billion. In a regulatory filing, the tobacco company had referred to the FDA’s flavor ban, however added that there was “no single determinative event or factor” in the decision to cut the stake.
Your first thought should be: "Well what's the point of age checking something that requires an age check to purchase in the first place?" and the answer to that is what your second thought should be: "Wait this is just a way to 'prove' all of the requirements the PMTA sets forth as needed to bring new vape products to market."
To which both of your thoughts are directly spot on. This has nothing to do best intentions or big tobacco pretending to be a good faith actor in this whole vape world vs the tobacco industry thing. It has everything to do with fast tracking a device that meets the PMTA guidelines, which will probably never even hit shelves, that also conveniently allows Juul to reintroduce it's flavored pod systems back into the corner store and gas station shelves.
What do you think about this move? Is big tobacco making a play to get their already proven to be popular vapor tech back into the market? Is it too little too late for Juul? Perhaps even another series of unfortunate events unfolding for the company that will ultimately end up in another failure scenario? Am I being overly paranoid in suspecting all of this?