US health officials on Thursday ordered vaping company Juul to stop selling its popular e-cigarettes, the latest blow to the tobacco industry from the Biden administration.
The action is part of a broader effort by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring scientific scrutiny to the multi-billion dollar vaping industry after years of regulatory delays.
The ban comes a day after the Biden administration proposed a rule to establish a maximum level of nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products in a bid to make them less addictive.
Launched in 2015, Juul led the way in e-cigarettes, controlling 75% of the U.S. e-cigarette market by its third year. It is the fifth best-selling electronic cigarette in the UK with sales of £13.1 million in 2021. But the sale of flavors such as mint, mango and creme brulee has led to accusations that she encouraged teenage smokers.
Parents, politicians and tobacco advocates wanted a ban on the devices many blame for the rise in underage vaping. Proponents say they can help smokers reduce their consumption of regular cigarettes.
The FDA said Juul had failed to provide “sufficient evidence” that its devices helped people quit smoking.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said, “The agency has devoted significant resources to reviewing products from companies that represent the bulk of the US market. We recognize that these make up a significant portion of the products available and many have played a disproportionate role in increasing youth vaping.
The American Lung Association applauded the decision: “Today’s decision is welcome and long overdue. @FDATobacco made the right decision to end the sale of all Juul products, including #menthol. They remain one of the most popular electronic cigarettes among teenagers. Stopping these sales is an important step in ending the youth vaping epidemic,” he said on Twitter.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.5 million American students used some tobacco product in 2021 and 80% of tobacco consumption was attributable to disposable electronic cigarettes and products. cartridge, like a Juul.
About 2 million high school students (13% of the study population) and 4% of college students (470,000 participants) reported “current” tobacco use.
Last year, the agency rejected applications for more than a million other e-cigarettes and related products, mostly because of their potential appeal to underage teenagers.
To stay in the market, companies must demonstrate that their products are beneficial to public health. In practice, this means proving that adult smokers who use the products are likely to quit or reduce their smoking, while teenagers are unlikely to become addicted.
The FDA has granted some e-cigarette applications, including tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes from RJ Reynolds, Logic and other companies.
But industry players and anti-tobacco advocates have complained that these products make up only a tiny percentage of the $6 billion vaping market in the United States.
Regulators have repeatedly delayed decisions on devices from market leaders, including Juul, which remains the top-selling vaping brand despite sales falling. The company should appeal the decision.
In a statement, Amanda Wheeler, president of the American Vapor Manufacturing Association, an industry trade group, said: “Measured in lives lost and potentially destroyed, the FDA’s staggering indifference to ordinary Americans and their right to switch to the much safer alternative of vaping surely ranks among the greatest episodes of regulatory malpractice in American history.
Agencies contributed to this story