The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to ban the sale and distribution of products from Juul Labs Inc, an e-cigarette company that many blame for sparking a proliferation of teen vaping in the states. -United.
In a statement on Thursday, the federal health agency said the company must stop selling and distributing its products in the United States — including its vaping device and flavored cartridges — while those already on the market were to be removed.
The FDA will not target consumers for possession of Juul products, she added.
“Today’s action is further progress in the FDA’s commitment to ensure that all e-cigarette and e-nicotine delivery system products currently marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” FDA Commissioner Robert M Califf said in the statement.
The U.S. vaping market, worth an estimated $6 billion in 2020, according to data from Grand View Research, is coming under increased scrutiny as tobacco control advocates call for more great industry regulation.
In response to the FDA’s announcement, the company said Thursday that it would explore “all of our options under FDA regulations and law, including appealing the decision and engaging with our regulator.”
Juul products accounted for 42% of the U.S. e-cigarette market in 2020, data firm Statista reported.
Juul and other e-cigarette companies often sell flavored products, which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says boost their appeal to young people.
Between 2015 and 2018, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), sales of fruit-flavored e-cigarette cartridges skyrocketed 600% and “young people identify flavor as the number one reason they use e-cigarettes.” .
The CDC also reported that e-cigarettes have been the most popular tobacco product among young smokers since 2014, and more than 10% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2021, compared to just 1.9% who use e-cigarettes. traditional cigarettes.
In 2018, the US Surgeon General said there was an “e-cigarette epidemic” among young people, adding that e-cigarette use had increased by 78% among high school students compared to the United States. previous year, rising from 11.7% in 2017 to 20.8% in 2018. .
In 2019, more than 27% of high school students used e-cigarettes, according to the CDC.
In its Thursday statement, the FDA said Juul had not provided enough data to show that the marketing of its products was “appropriate for the protection of public health.”
“Without the data necessary to determine the relevant health risks, the FDA issues these marketing denial orders,” he said.
Juul has marketed itself as an alternative to cigarettes, and its website states that its “mission is to transition the one billion adult smokers into the world of combustible cigarettes, eliminate their use, and combat the use of our produced by minors”.
Opponents of e-cigarettes are unconvinced and argue that the lure of vaping, particularly with flavored products, threatens to reverse the successful decline in teenage smoking that has occurred over the past few decades.
On its website, the anti-tobacco advocacy group Truth Initiative states: “While we endorse the important public health strategy of harm minimization and that these new products may benefit smokers who completely quit combustible tobacco, they still pose health risks and non-smokers should never use them.
Over the past few years, Juul has paid tens of millions in lawsuits.
In April this year, Juul agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle a consumer protection lawsuit filed by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who claimed the company had misled consumers about addiction to its product and targeted underage consumers.
In North Carolina, a year earlier, Juul agreed to a $40 million settlement after being sued by state Attorney General Josh Stein for deceptive marketing targeting young people.