Last week, the Food and Drug Administration described teenage e-cigarette use as an “epidemic,” echoing the firsthand observations of teachers, social media watchers and the public health community.
Juul Labs, the leading e-cigarette manufacturer, responded with the industry’s well-worn, lawyer-approved denial. “We are committed to preventing underage use of our product,” said Kevin Burns, Juul’s chief executive.
But just like their traditional counterpart, e-cigarettes have always been marketed to kids. And as a result, millions of American teens have become addicted to nicotine before they reach the age of consent, while their brains are still developing.
In the late 19th century, at the dawn of the cigarette age, cigarette firms began placing stiff cardboard inside packaging to prevent cigarettes from getting crushed. Soon, the baseball card was born as a gimmick to entice boys into collecting the roster of their favorite team.