The youth e-cigarette epidemic: New estimates of JUUL Labs' revenue from youth users in the US

Bekir Kaplan, Rajeev Cherukupalli, Kevin Welding, Ryan D. Kennedy, Joanna E. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Past 30-day e-cigarette use increased by 78% among high school students from 2017 to 2018, an increase attributable to pod-style devices. JUUL Labs (JUUL) insists they do not market their product to teenagers. We created several scenarios to estimate the percentages of JUUL's net revenue from adults and youth in the US in 2018. METHODS We used the number of youth (aged 12-17 years) and adults (aged ≥18 years) who reported using JUUL in the nationally representative Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study wave 4 (Dec 2016-Jan 2018) to estimate the youth proportion of JUUL users. As a sensitivity analysis, we also used data from the nationally representative Truth Longitudinal Cohort (TLC) study to estimate the youth proportion of JUUL users. Based on this percentage, we then applied several scenarios to estimate JUUL's net revenue from youth in the US in 2018. RESULTS From the PATH Study, 31% of JUUL users were youth (aged 12-17 years). In the TLC study, 30% of current JUUL users were aged 15-17 years. Given that JUUL's net revenue was $1.3 billion in 2018, we calculated that JUUL made between $130 million and $650 million of its net revenue from youth, depending on consumption scenarios. CONCLUSIONS A substantial proportion of JUUL's profits in 2018 were a result of use by youth. It could be required that all e-cigarette companies actively ensure that use by youth is below a pre-determined small fraction of their sales, requiring that a high penalty be paid by those that fail to do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133874
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Electronic nicotine delivery systems
  • JUUL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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