Look parents, he’s sorry.
Juul CEO Kevin Burns made that much very clear during a CNBC interview, set to air Monday, in which he expressed remorse that all your kids are addicted to blowing fat clouds with the popular e-cigarette. The San Francisco-based company has taken heat from the FDA for a surge in underage use, and its CEO apparently thought it best that he let everyone know he’s paying attention.
“First of all, I’d tell [parents] that I’m sorry that their child’s using the product,” Burns reportedly tells interviewer Carl Quintanilla. “It’s not intended for them. I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them.”
“As a parent of a 16-year-old,” he continued in the interview, “I’m sorry for them, and I have empathy for them, in terms of what the challenges they’re going through.”
The documented rise in teen vaping comes at a time when Juul is rolling in cash. The vape manufacturer received a $12.8 billion investment from Philip Morris parent company Altria in 2018, and subsequently handed out sizable bonuses to its employees.
But the public opinion of Juul, which positions itself as a smoking alternative for adults who no longer want to use traditional cigarettes, isn’t reflected in the company’s overflowing coffers. San Francisco local government recently moved to ban sales of e-cigarettes in the city, and officials have directly targeted Juul.
Which brings us back to CEO Kevin Burns. He’s very, very sorry about all of this. He promises.