Juul applied for a patent to use artificial intelligence as part of a device to help users quit nicotine. The device will limit use every day until the user has been weaned off and no longer uses nicotine. The application comes amidst a rising tide of lawsuits and public scrutiny against Juul.
The application illustrates a device working hand-in-hand with the Juul vaping device. It would alternate nicotine and a non-nicotine product to slowly limit and reduce the smoker’s intake. “An application and/or a controller may apply machine learning to adjust delivery of nicotine and/or non-nicotine vaporizable material to the user based on received inputs from the user. The inputs may be received directly from the user or they may be learned through monitoring the vaporizer use and behavior of the user.” The device would be connected to a smartphone and it will determine when and how much to supplement the nicotine with the non-nicotine substance. It did not specify what this material would be, presumably it is safe and non-addictive. According to the patent application, the first puff will contain one substance and the second puff will contain another sentence. “The method includes determining a delivery pattern for providing a first puff containing an amount of a first vaporizable material and a second puff containing an amount of a second vaporizable material…The method further includes providing a plurality of puffs from a vaporizer…based on the delivery pattern…the method further includes receiving user feedback associated with the delivery pattern in response to the providing …[and] …modifying the delivery pattern based on the user feedback.”
Juul co-founder and chief product officer, James Monsees, toyed with the idea in 2018, noting the company wanted a device that could connect to a smartphone and could help users quit nicotine if they wanted to quit. For instance, a Juul user could indicate their goal is to drop their usage by 20% over the next two weeks, and the software will help guide them to do so.
Recently, Juul has been scrutinized for its marketing practices, which seem to be aimed at teenagers. For example, in December 18 lawsuits were filed against Juul the same day. Overall, Juul been involved in at least 212 federal lawsuits in 2020, most of which are product liability cases. New York and California have sued the company for its deceptive and misleading advertising practices, which they argued have cause American youth to become addicted to Juul. The FTC is also investigating Juul for using influencer marketing. The FDA has also required companies to remove flavored e-cigarette cartridges.