The US Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved to ban the sale and distribution of merchandise from Juul Labs Inc, an e-cigarette firm that many blame for sparking a proliferation of teenage vaping in the US.
In a press release on Thursday, the federal well being company mentioned the corporate should cease promoting and distributing its merchandise within the US – together with its vaping gadget and flavoured cartridges – whereas these already available on the market have to be eliminated.
The FDA is not going to goal shoppers for possessing Juul merchandise, it added.
“In the present day’s motion is additional progress on the FDA’s dedication to making sure that each one e-cigarette and digital nicotine supply system merchandise at present being marketed to shoppers meet our public well being requirements,” FDA Commissioner Robert M Califf mentioned within the assertion.
The US vaping market, value an estimated $6bn in 2020, in line with information from Grand View Analysis, has come beneath elevated scrutiny as anti-tobacco advocates name for better regulation of the trade.
In response to the FDA’s announcement, the corporate mentioned on Thursday that it will discover “all of our choices beneath the FDA’s rules and the regulation, together with interesting the choice and fascinating with our regulator”.
Juul merchandise accounted for 42 % of the US e-cigarette market in 2020, information agency Statista reported.
Juul and different e-cigarette corporations usually promote flavoured merchandise, which the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) has mentioned enhances their attraction amongst younger folks.
Between 2015 and 2018, in line with the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC), gross sales of fruit-flavoured e-cigarette cartridges skyrocketed by 600 % and “younger folks determine flavors as a major cause they use e-cigarettes”.
The CDC additionally reported that e-cigarettes have been the most well-liked tobacco product amongst younger people who smoke since 2014, and greater than 10 % of highschool college students reported utilizing e-cigarettes in 2021, in contrast with simply 1.9 % who use conventional cigarettes.
In 2018, the US Surgeon Normal declared that there was an “e-cigarette epidemic” amongst younger folks, including that e-cigarette utilization elevated 78 % amongst highschool college students from the earlier 12 months, from 11.7 % in 2017 to twenty.8 % in 2018.
In 2019, greater than 27 % of highschool college students used e-cigarettes, in line with the CDC.
In its assertion on Thursday, the FDA mentioned Juul failed to supply enough information to point out that the advertising and marketing of its merchandise was “acceptable for the safety of the general public well being”.
“With out the info wanted to find out related well being dangers, the FDA is issuing these advertising and marketing denial orders,” it mentioned.
Juul has pitched itself as an alternative choice to cigarettes, and its web site states that its “mission is to transition the world’s billion grownup people who smoke away from flamable cigarettes, remove their use, and fight underage utilization of our merchandise”.
Opponents of e-cigarettes usually are not satisfied and preserve that the attraction of vaping, particularly with flavoured merchandise, threatens to roll again the profitable lower in teenage smoking that has occurred over the past a number of a long time.
On its web site, the anti-smoking advocacy group Fact Initiative says, “Whereas we promote the essential public well being technique of hurt minimization and these new merchandise could also be useful to people who smoke who fully change from flamable tobacco, they nonetheless pose well being dangers and nonsmokers ought to by no means use them.”
Over the past a number of years, Juul has paid out tens of hundreds of thousands in lawsuits.
In April of this 12 months, Juul agreed to pay $22.5m to settle a client safety lawsuit filed by Washington state Legal professional Normal Bob Ferguson, who claimed that the corporate misled shoppers concerning the addictiveness of its product and focused underage shoppers.
In North Carolina a 12 months earlier, Juul agreed to a $40m settlement after being sued by the state Legal professional Normal Josh Stein for misleading advertising and marketing that focused younger folks.