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 america.
In a statement 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 in the marketplace should be eliminated.
The FDA won’t goal customers for possessing Juul merchandise, it added.
“As we speak’s motion is additional progress on the FDA’s dedication to making sure that every one e-cigarette and digital nicotine supply system merchandise at the moment being marketed to customers meet our public well being requirements,” FDA Commissioner Robert M Califf mentioned within the assertion.
The US vaping market, price an estimated $6bn in 2020, in line with information from Grand View Analysis, has come beneath elevated scrutiny as anti-tobacco advocates name for greater 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 interesting with our regulator”.
Juul merchandise accounted for 42 p.c of the US e-cigarette market in 2020, information agency Statista reported.
Juul and different e-cigarette firms usually promote flavoured merchandise, which the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) has mentioned enhances their enchantment amongst young people.
Between 2015 and 2018, in line with the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC), gross sales of fruit-flavoured e-cigarette cartridges skyrocketed by 600 p.c and “younger individuals determine flavors as a main purpose they use e-cigarettes”.
The CDC additionally reported that e-cigarettes have been the preferred tobacco product amongst younger people who smoke since 2014, and greater than 10 p.c of highschool college students reported utilizing e-cigarettes in 2021, in contrast with simply 1.9 p.c who use conventional cigarettes.
In 2018, the US Surgeon Basic declared that there was an “e-cigarette epidemic” amongst younger individuals, including that e-cigarette utilization elevated 78 p.c amongst highschool college students from the earlier yr, from 11.7 p.c in 2017 to twenty.8 p.c in 2018.
In 2019, greater than 27 p.c of highschool college students used e-cigarettes, according to the CDC.
In its assertion on Thursday, the FDA mentioned Juul failed to supply ample information to indicate that the advertising and marketing of its merchandise was “acceptable for the safety of the general public well being”.
“With out the information 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 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, eradicate their use, and fight underage utilization of our merchandise”.
Opponents of e-cigarettes will not be satisfied and keep that the appeal 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 many years.
On its web site, the anti-smoking advocacy group Reality 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 utterly swap from flamable tobacco, they nonetheless pose well being dangers and nonsmokers ought to by no means use them.”
Over the last a number of years, Juul has paid out tens of thousands and thousands in lawsuits.
In April of this yr, Juul agreed to pay $22.5m to settle a client safety lawsuit filed by Washington state Legal professional Basic Bob Ferguson, who claimed that the corporate misled customers concerning the addictiveness of its product and focused underage customers.
In North Carolina a yr earlier, Juul agreed to a $40m settlement after being sued by the state Legal professional Basic Josh Stein for misleading advertising and marketing that focused younger individuals.