Juul and the business of addiction

Several years ago, I went to a splashy launch party for a new tech product, which is a pretty normal thing for tech companies to have. It was at a hip warehouse space in Manhattan, there was cool lighting and a great DJ, free food — the company had pulled out all the stops. And the company had invited a ton of Instagram influencers and model types, so there were lots of beautiful young people there doing exactly what the company had hoped they’d do: taking photos and videos with the new product, talking about how cool it was, and posting it to social media.

Now, if I was talking about a new smartphone, or a camera, or a laptop, this party would not have stuck out in my mind, but this party was for a product called the Juul. And the Juul was — and still is — one of the most potent and effective nicotine delivery devices that’s ever been created. Juul’s big innovation was a nicotine formulation that made its vape hit just like a cigarette….

Read more…