Juul tried to design a solution to a public health problem. It wound up creating another one.
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Since the first patent in 1930, electronic cigarettes have taken many shapes. At first they mimicked the packaging and physicality of cigarettes, with a cylindrical shape and light-up tip. Then they trended toward boxier designs, with low nicotine levels and high amounts of vapor.
The Juul did things differently: it packed a high-nicotine, low vapor hit in a small, USB drive-shaped package, with a colorful range of flavors and a buttonless, intuitive design. It wasn’t just a hot new e-cigarette — it was a hot new tech gadget. Now, middle schools and high schools across the US are nervous about how many kids are getting hooked on Juuls.
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