The CEO of popular electronic cigarette maker, Juul Labs, apologized last week to parents whose young children use the company’s popular brand of electric cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.
“I’m sorry that their child is using the product. It’s not intended for them,” Kevin Burns told CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla. “I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them.”
E-cigarettes are now the nation’s most commonly used form of tobacco among teenagers in the U.S. A survey by the CDC found more than 2 million high school and middle school students used them in 2017.
In an attempt to decrease their attraction to young people the FDA considered banning fruit- and candy- flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations last fall. Juul voluntarily dropped sales of its flavored products in retail stores. The FDA did not follow through with the ban.
The company’s apology has not convinced everyone, however.
“This is one more example that Juul is more interested in repairing its image and expanding its sales than preventing youth use,” president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Matthew L. Myers, said in a statement.
“Juul is following the tobacco industry’s playbook to the letter: Addict kids, deny responsibility for doing so, run slick PR campaigns to fool policy makers and the public, and fight real solutions to the problem,” Myers added.