If Then

Juul Claims to Be a Smoking Cessation Device, but Kids Who Don’t Smoke Love It

Wired’s Nitasha Tiku breaks down Juul, the company that dominates e-cigarettes.

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On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss news that the French government has fined Google close to $57 million for violating the new European privacy laws that went into effect in 2018. This comes as news that the Federal Trade Commission here in the U.S. is considering levying a record-breaking fine against Facebook for violations to its users’ privacy following the Cambridge Analytica mess. Corporate fines may well be a theme this year, following the great cleanup after the 2016 election went awry


And then we’re going to talk about Juul, the multibillion-dollar e-cigarette company that is dominating the new industry. It’s been quite the year for Juul. Its offices were raided by the Food and Drug Administration. It at least provisionally agreed to stop selling certain fruity flavors clearly popular with kids. It accepted a $12.8 billion investment from Altria, the tobacco company that owns Marlboro. And most recently, the vaping brand announced its launching a new $10 million national TV marketing campaign.


To help make sense of the company that controls an estimated 70 percent of the e-cigarette market, we’re joined by Nitasha Tiku, a senior writer for Wired.

Stories discussed on the show:


The Washington Post: France Fines Google Nearly $57 million for First Major Violation of New European Privacy Regime

The Washington Post: U.S. Regulators Have Met to Discuss Imposing a Record-Setting Fine Against Facebook for Privacy Violations

Slate: It’s Not Enough to Fine Facebook. The Feds Should Fine Mark Zuckerberg.

Wired: Why Zuckerberg’s 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn’t Fixed Facebook

The Guardian: WhatsApp Puts Limit on Message Forwarding to Fight Fake News

Wired: Juul’s Answer to Its PR Crisis? The Millennial Marlboro Man

Wired: Vape Pens and E-Cigs Are Blowing Up. Like, Literally

Don’t Close My Tabs:

April: Bloomberg: Corporate America Is Getting Ready to Monetize Climate Change

Will: HuffPost: Jack Dorsey Has No Clue What He Wants

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

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You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State UniversityNew America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.