How Juul’s plan to show college students about vaping went up in smoke


The corporate deserted these efforts in Might, not lengthy after its preliminary outreach, in response to a backlash from well being and training advocates.

What’s in it?

Halpern-Felsher mentioned the Juul curriculum was “utterly lacking an important items” of a bona fide prevention effort.

For instance, it did not focus on the function of trade and advertising in selling nicotine use. And it touted mindfulness as a prevention instrument, regardless of what she described as an absence of proof that it really works on this context. A number of the curriculum’s workout routines included guided meditation and swinging a pendulum over a bit of paper to debate the “energy of the thoughts,” she writes within the article.

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In a model of the curriculum offered by Halpern-Felsher, lecturers are referred to a primer video, which hyperlinks to an Australian vaping firm and says that individuals vape to “scale back hurt” and “lower your expenses” over cigarettes. (The Stanford toolkit describes the previous as a “misperception.”)

On the finish of the video: a popup field that claims, “New to vaping? We’ll enable you take these first steps.”

The supplies hardly ever point out Juul by identify, Halpern-Felsher mentioned.

What they did point out, nevertheless, was her personal work — the Stanford toolkit — which was referenced as a useful resource in Juul supplies reviewed by CNN.

She turned conscious of this when a colleague falsely accused her of working with or receiving cash from the corporate.

“That is after I mentioned, ‘wait, one thing’s occurring right here,’ ” Halpern-Felsher mentioned.

On the alert

Additionally named in Juul paperwork was the Spokane Regional Well being District, which has its personal tobacco and vaping prevention applications.
“The Spokane Regional Well being District is listed as one of many sources on which they based mostly their prevention initiative, which was of nice concern to Spokane,” Frances Limtiaco, program supervisor for the Washington State Division of Well being’s Tobacco and Vapor Product Prevention and Control Program, wrote in an emailed assertion.

“Nevertheless, we had been by no means in a position to decide how this got here to be,” she added.

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This prompted Limtiaco and her colleagues to ship out an alert in March to Washington colleges warning them that “Juul Labs are piloting their prevention program … to center and excessive colleges.”

“The tobacco trade has an extended historical past of sponsoring youth prevention programming that finally undermine evidence-based tobacco management efforts, and JUUL is not any totally different,” the alert mentioned.

No colleges or college districts responded to the alert saying they’d obtained gives from the corporate, Limtiaco famous.

An analogous alert was despatched by e-mail in February by college well being officers with the California Division of Training.

“Individuals have mentioned to me within the colleges … ‘I am involved as a result of I am listening to about Juul attempting to return to our colleges and providing this cash,’ ” Halpern-Felsher mentioned.

“There was a whole lot of confusion.”

Gadgets for vices

The Stanford and Spokane sources appeared in a December company memo outlining Juul’s plans, which included “designing options to conventional prevention applications” by culling from “greatest observe sources.”

A Juul Labs spokeswoman, Victoria Davis, confirmed that the memo was an organization doc.

Additionally famous within the December memo is the progress the initiative had made: It had contacted 15 college districts in California, dedicated two colleges to this system and engaged “long-time academic leaders Wendell Greer and Bruce Harter to guide the prevention effort in colleges and faculty districts.”

Harter and Greer didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark. They served collectively as directors of California’s West Contra Costa Unified College District; Harter was its superintendent.

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Emails present that Harter attended a gathering in February to advertise the Juul program at California’s Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee. Assembly minutes present that Harter was there in particular person and Greer by way of teleconference.

The next day, well being and training specialists privately expressed concern about Juul’s plans. One physician described as “problematic” the corporate’s plans to arrange focus teams of scholar vapers:

“It is analogous to Philip Morris’ analysis on children they did underneath the guise of youth smoking prevention,” wrote Dr. Pamela Ling, a professor of medication at College of California, San Francisco who works with the college’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

“Why would you give this firm entry to children like this?” she wrote within the February e-mail.

Equally, Halpern-Felsher expressed issues to CNN that the curriculum itself might yield necessary insights about e-cig advertising to the trade.

For instance, one scholar questionnaire asks, “What’s interesting about utilizing e-cigarette or JUULs? Why do college students use them?” Faculties had been to be instructed to submit these types to “JUUL consultants,” paperwork present.

“We within the public well being world … acquired very nervous that that is how they’re gathering knowledge,” Halpern-Felsher mentioned.

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The corporate’s technique additionally included growing expertise which may disable the vapes, together with “wi-fi nodes that alert college workers to make use of in colleges,” and an age-verification course of that may require an grownup’s smartphone, based on the December memo.

In a February e-mail that Halpern-Felsher shared with CNN, Harter mentioned that Juul could be piloting these gadgets by the tip of March. He promised that it will not solely disable a vape, it will tip off college directors as to the place and when vapes had been getting used.

In August, Bloomberg additionally reported the rollout of Bluetooth-enabled Juuls which may confirm vapers’ ages and shut down in colleges attributable to “geofences” surrounding the premises.

In an e-mailed assertion, Davis instructed CNN, “We actively consider new applied sciences and options to assist maintain JUUL out of the palms of younger individuals.”


On the time of the December memo, the pilot program aimed to launch in February. But it surely was finally deserted by mid-Might, based on Davis.

Halpern-Felsher mentioned she realized of a minimum of one college that used supplies from Juul after a scholar’s mom contacted her.

“The discontinued curriculum information was a short-lived initiative designed to offer educators with present data on vaping merchandise usually to complement present tobacco prevention training,” Davis mentioned.

“We stopped distribution in response to suggestions from those that thought our efforts had been being misunderstood,” she added.

In keeping with emails obtained by CNN and dated in February, stipends within the quantity of $10,000 had been supplied to quite a few college districts. In a minimum of one case, a district mentioned it had declined a suggestion of $20,000 plus “nodes” that would “jam the JUUL gadgets and render them ineffective.”

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One other college is quoted in these emails, shared by Halpern-Felsher, as saying that it had been supplied devices that would find Juuls getting used on college premises and that Juul anticipated that the expertise could be prepared to be used throughout the next college yr.

Davis mentioned stipends had been supplied in various quantities “relying on their wants and complexity of applications.” She mentioned that receiving these funds was not contingent upon implementing the curriculum.

CNN additionally reviewed a template of Juul’s memorandum of agreement, which promised 75% of the funding up entrance, with the remaining 25% contingent upon receiving a remaining report from the principal, which might include particulars like what number of college students attended and when. Faculties would additionally agree to permit Juul “consultants” to sit down in on classes, although to not take part.

Davis mentioned fewer than 10 colleges obtained stipends, which “had been supposed to cowl the prices related to operational bills, sources, or coaching/materials for lecturers with the applications the college or district selected to make use of.” She didn’t touch upon which colleges obtained stipends.

‘Step up’

Within the months since Juul’s program got here to a halt, federal authorities have toughened efforts to crack down on underage vaping.

The US Meals and Drug Administration will announce a “new motion plan” this month to “firmly confront and reverse the youth habit traits which are at epidemic ranges,” Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb mentioned in a statement Wednesday.
In one other statement Friday, Gottlieb introduced a public hearing subsequent month that may “concentrate on the potential function of drug therapies to assist cessation amongst youth, and the problems impacting the event of such therapies for kids.”
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The company lately expanded its investigation into e-cigarette corporations, sending letters to 21 corporations final month — together with Juul — in an effort to uncover whether or not they’re advertising merchandise illegally and outdoors the company’s compliance coverage.
That transfer got here lower than two weeks after the company performed a surprise inspection of Juul’s company headquarters in San Francisco, seizing thousand of paperwork, lots of which relate to its gross sales and advertising practices.

On Wednesday, Gottlieb mentioned e-cig corporations have acknowledged in conferences that flavored merchandise play a job the merchandise’ enchantment to children. Past the FDA’s personal rules, he has invited these corporations to take voluntary steps to deal with what he described as a mutual purpose to maintain e-cigs out of children’ palms.

“For the e-cigarette trade, my message was easy: Step up,” Gottlieb mentioned.

Altria Group, one of many corporations Gottlieb met with, introduced final week that it was pulling quite a few flavored vaping merchandise from cabinets till it receives FDA authorization or “when the youth problem is addressed,” based on a statement by firm Chairman and CEO Howard Willard.
The fast unfold of e-cigarettes, which work by heating a liquid till it vaporizes, was flagged in a 2016 report by the US surgeon basic that cited a 900% improve in e-cigarette use by highschool college students from 2011 to 2015. E-cigarette use declined for the first time in 2016 however held regular the next yr.

Halpern-Felsher mentioned shoppers and well being specialists have been locked in a contentious debate; whereas some see it as a smoking cessation instrument for adults, others say “there is no good proof there, interval,” she added.

“There’s by no means been … one thing so divisive within the public well being world as vapes,” she mentioned.

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