Photo: AP

[Mom don’t read this]

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OK, great. Like my one true queen, Sophie Turner, I love my Juul. Please do not @ me about this, I am not open to feedback at this time. But my stupid, minty pastime—and the corporation that has the market essentially cornered on vaping—has been bumming me out lately.

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I present three news items.

  1. The Daily Beast reported today that as part of Juul’s ongoing battle to avoid being regulated out of existence, the company has “hired lobbyists and consultants with deep ties to prominent black and Latino lawmakers, steered money to congressional black and Hispanic caucuses, and made overtures to leading civil rights groups.” In reaching out to communities of color, Juul has reportedly gone so far as to frame vaping as a “criminal justice” issue.
  2. Juul Labs is awarding a historically black college in Tennessee a $7.5 million grant to study “the rising prevalence of e-cigarettes, including how they affect young people.” The school says they’ve been promised “full autonomy” over the funds. This all conveniently comes after the New York Times reported late last month that the company “aggressively recruits scientists to prove to the Food and Drug Administration, and to the public, that ‘juuling’ offers more public health benefit than risk.”
  3. San Francisco is considering an ordinance to ban the sale of e-cigarettes in the city, which puts the company, which is headquartered there, in a bit of an awkward position. Kevin Burns, the company’s CEO, said recently, per the San Francisco Chronicle, that he’s concerned about teens vaping, saying “It’s not something we want from a moral basis.” One could infer that Burns splitting hairs suggests that the business side might not agree.

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A corporation, which has accepted $13 billion from Philip Morris’ parent company, behaving badly? Hmmm.