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Big Vape: New Netflix Documentary on Juul Tells a Controversial Story

“Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul” delves into the dramatic trajectory of the Juul vaping device, chronicling its meteoric rise and eventual downfall.

A 4 part docu-series is premiering on Netflix, on October 11. The docu-series will be depicting the drastic rise and fall of the infamous vaping device, the Juul.

It’s called “Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul”, and the title speaks for itself. Juul was a 38 billion dollar company, popular among teens and young adults in their 20s. Juul had the upper hand in the vaping world for years. With ads in Seventeen magazine, the Nick Jr. TV Channel and several other sites directed mainly to teens, they were impossible to miss.

However all of that changed drastically in 2018. An investigation by the FDA forced Juul to discontinue some flavours of their cartridges, due to the concern of attracting minors to vaping. In 2019, they reached an agreement with the Center for Environmental Health to ease up on their marketing. As a result, by 2020, Juul’s market share fell to 42%, and by 2022, they were pulled from shelves completely.

In just 4 years, Juul went from being the most ubiquitous vaping product, to becoming virtually non-existent. 

How did Juul’s rise begin?

The series begins with the story of Stanford tech bros Adam Bowen and James Monsees. They created a start-up in Silicon Valley after forming a bond over their passion for the harmful impact of smoking. “Ploom” was born, a butane powered e-cigarette that the pair launched in 2010. After more testing and experimenting, a sleeker, more compact, and in particular, a better flavoured device was launched, beginning Juul’s ascent to the top of the vaping world in 2015.

Juul’s controversies began early on, with their brand seemingly targeting under age young people. They gave out thousands of free devices, had celebrities with young followings like Cara Delevigne and Miley Cyrus promote their campaigns, and amped up their advertising on every social media platform possible. 

Big Vape tells the full story of Juul, with testaments from former employees, young users and more. We are looking forward to learning how Juul may have been the catalyst for the vaping concerns and public health crisis we see today.

Hopefully Netflix brings us a cautionary tale packed full of intensity, controversy and education. Above all, give us a glimpse into the brief yet pivotal life of the Juul!

We will follow up with a review after we’ve finished the series.


Jayna Taylor

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