“The head of the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that teenage use of flavored electronic cigarettes has become ‘an epidemic’ and ordered the five biggest manufacturers to say within 60 days how they will address it or face removal of their products from the market.” — The Boston Globe, 9/12/18
There’s been a lot of criticism of our company’s poison sticks recently. Many people, from journalists to government agencies, have been accusing us of marketing to children, who are being attracted by the fun, fruity flavors of our poison sticks without realizing that they are, in fact, highly addictive poison sticks. Some have compared us to other, less delicious poison sticks of the past, despite the fact that we have made it overwhelmingly clear that our poison sticks are better for you than other types of poison sticks. For instance, our poison sticks come in a number of wild new flavors, while other poison sticks just come in “menthol.”
But we want to be clear. Our poison sticks are not for children. They are only meant to be cool, fun poison sticks that you use with your friends and peers, all of whom are between the ages of 19 and 20. Our target audience is that fun crowd your big brother or sister used to hang out with, except in this scenario they’re all above the minimum age to buy tobacco, and you are too.
Is this confusing? It shouldn’t be. Just remember that our cartoonish, colorful boxes of nicotine-filled poison sticks are not targeted at children.
When you put one of our poison sticks into your mouth and breathe in the aromatic fumes, we want you to know you are doing an adult activity. This is true no matter how brightly colored our advertisements are. And although we just released our new Blazin’ Blue Raspberry flavor, which tastes like GoGurt, that sugary sweet deliciousness is both super rad and also not meant for kids.
Could we do more to prevent minors from buying our poison sticks? I mean, technically, yes, but do you really expect us to do something as extreme as destroy all of our poison sticks, or discontinue our planned TV cartoon series featuring an anthropomorphized poison stick that goes on adventures and solves mysteries? I don’t think so. That would be against the American spirit of entrepreneurship, and it would prevent our delicious vaporized flavors from reaching all of our non-child customers who enjoy watching cartoons.
We’re just responding to the demands of the consumer. And the people who buy our sweet, satisfying poison sticks are big fans of all of our flavors and colors. The reason they stay with us is not just the vapors of addictive substances that fill our poison sticks; it’s that they feel loyalty to a brand that treats them like the hip, chill adult teenagers that they are or might be, depending on whether our lawyers determine what type of customer is the most problematic.
So just relax, take a puff of a flavor-filled poison stick, and don’t think about nicotine. That wouldn’t be cool.