What happens in the US is not always a reliable barometer for the future legislative direction of a particular category or substance. You only need to look at the UK’s increasingly hardline approach to CBD to see that. But with the government looking to crack down on underage vaping in the UK, Big Vape: the Rise and Fall of Juul (the new four-part Netflix series) is certainly a cautionary tale.

At its peak, Juul was valued at $38bn. Its subsequent crash was partly the result of the lung-melting 59mg/ml of nicotine in the US version of the refillable and USB-rechargeable sticks (versus 20mg/ml in the EU). But even more crucial was its naked appeal and marketing to underage smokers, with ‘foodie’ flavours like mango, creme brulee and cucumber promoted to kids via social media as the epitome of cool – and with claims it wasn’t just “safer” but “safe” to use.

With parents incensed at alarming levels of nicotine addiction among teenage children, and amid growing evidence of harm associated with vaping (including a newly identified condition known as EVALI or E-cigarette and Vaping-Use Associated Lung Injury), a series of class action lawsuits have almost entirely neutered Juul. The foodie flavours, the social media accounts, most of the original executive team, and of course, the ‘quadricorn’ valuation are all gone.

And yet until now the UK has taken a remarkably laissez-faire approach, in which none of the lessons from the US appear to have been learned, while vaping also developed a nasty throwaway habit via the massive growth of disposables.

In a bid to get ahead of the legislation expected to follow the government’s consultation, leading vape supplier Supreme has banished the bright colours and toned down the flavour descriptions from its brands, while also promising to talk to brands for which it has distribution rights (including the bestselling ElfBar). And leaving nothing to chance, the CEO has made a tidy donation to the Conservative Party’s coffers.

Still there are concerns the government will ban flavoured vapes altogether, as well as disposable ones, as has happened in the US. The trade association insists that would backfire, fearing vapers will switch back to ciggies, as sweet flavours appeal to the newly awakened tastebuds of adult smokers as much those of children. But is it all too little too late?