- Ninja mocked for not knowing how to make a sandwich Wednesday 9:30 PM
- Marvel comics writer discusses misogyny in the industry Wednesday 9:09 PM
- TikTok conspiracy theorists think Juice WRLD is still alive Wednesday 7:03 PM
- Conservatives are protesting YouTube’s new harassment rules Wednesday 5:36 PM
- YouTuber’s ‘creepy’ comment about Taylor Swift’s eggs gets ratioed Wednesday 5:31 PM
- Bloomberg razzed for accidentally making an Alexa Fleshlight Wednesday 5:29 PM
- Who is putting cowboy hats on pigeons? Wednesday 4:33 PM
- Scammer reportedly bribed Facebook employee to keep posts up Wednesday 3:36 PM
- The 1975’s singer criticized for ‘Islamophobic’ rant Wednesday 3:22 PM
- Ready to dish out $52K for Apple’s new Mac Pro? Wednesday 3:03 PM
- N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell discuss their new Green Lantern comic, ‘Far Sector’ Wednesday 3:00 PM
- YouTube says it will be harsher on creators with ‘patterns of harassing behavior’ Wednesday 1:15 PM
- Why one senator stopped a vote on net neutrality Wednesday 12:49 PM
- Man reportedly denied refugee status after officials fail to forward email Wednesday 12:09 PM
- ‘Jojo Rabbit’ star to lead Disney+ ‘Home Alone’ reboot Wednesday 12:08 PM
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics determined that nearly half of Juul’s Twitter followers are not old enough to legally purchase e-cigarettes.
In April 2018, researchers analyzed data from all of Juul’s Twitter followers who had public accounts and had tweeted at least once. They used an age-prediction algorithm to determine the age of the users and ascertain how many were underage, regardless of the accounts’ reported age. They found that about 45 percent of people following Juul at that time were 13 to 17 years old, meaning nearly half of the e-cigarette company’s followers cannot legally purchase its products in the United States.
In response to rising teen smoking rates, 14 states have raised the minimum age for tobacco purchase to 21 years. About 36 percent of Juul’s Twitter followers were 18 to 20 years old, and only the remaining 19 percent were 21 and older.
However, Juul has contested these findings in a statement to Reuters, saying the numbers reported in JAMA Pediatrics “differ significantly” from the user data given to them by Twitter. Juul said that per the data it has from Twitter, only 3.9 percent of the followers were 13 to 17 years old in May 2018. In the statement, Juul said that during the timeframe of the study it had “proactively, manually blocked underage users from following our Twitter feed.”
Juul has repeatedly asserted that the intended use of its product is for adults to replace cigarettes, but according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes rose from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.8 million in 2018. After the FDA announced it would be cracking down on flavored e-cigarettes unless companies selling them could prove they weren’t targeting minors, Juul tried to regulate itself. It shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts and made the Twitter non-promotional, as well as removing flavors popular with teens from physical stores. Whether or not that is enough to stop rising smoking rates among teens remains to be seen.
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.