Juul’s Upcoming Smart Device Could Pose a Major Privacy Risk

Experts are already sounding the alarm over concerns that insurers and employers could get access to data about e-cigarette use

Sage Lazzaro
OneZero
Published in
5 min readMay 14, 2019

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Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

JJuul — the smoking-replacement startup known for its tiny nicotine vapes, fruity flavors, and sky-high valuation — is apparently getting into the data business. The company, which took a $12.8 billion investment from cigarette giant Altria in December, is creating a new Bluetooth-enabled device and corresponding mobile app. Juul claims the offerings are part of its overall mission to help cigarette smokers switch to its product. But the company is also reportedly launching a program that could give third parties access to Juul customer data — including sensitive details such as usage habits.

Experts tell OneZero they’re concerned about the privacy implications of these services.

“Like any technology, an app can be used for good or ill — or more likely a little of both,” says Margaret Foster Riley, a health law expert at the University of Virginia. “I’m not surprised if they sell data to third parties — that’s where the money is.”

Juul entered the market as a product of the vaporizer company Pax Labs in 2015 and quickly became the most popular e-cigarette in…

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Sage Lazzaro
OneZero

Journalist covering tech, biz, internet culture, and women in tech, sometimes for Medium’s OneZero