Juul is nearing its last breath after hooking a generation on vaping

A federal court sided with the health groups in 2019, forcing the FDA to start enforcing its licensing process for e-cigarette companies. The FDA has given e-cigarette makers a 2020 deadline to seek clearance or be kicked off the shelves. (That deadline was later pushed back, due to Covid.) Juul had already been on sale for four years and then accounted for 75% of the e-cigarette market. But her future was beginning to get cloudy.

Juul now had to rotate. The company, as Jamie Ducharme writes in his 2019 book Big Vape, was inspired by a typical San Francisco startup, where people “skate back and forth across the office’s concrete floors and shoot each other with foam Nerf darts.” Many early employees, like founders Monsees and Bowen, had a background in design and marketing. Juul now had to adjust to regulatory scrutiny, producing detailed reports on its product’s components, ingredients, and health risks to gain FDA clearance.

The company began hiring people to handle government relations and handle public affairs. It has also crippled its own product line, removing its most popular flavors, such as mango and fruit mix, from the shelves to leave only menthol, mint and tobacco pods. The company’s announcement of the news quoted then-CEO KC Crosthwaite as pledging to “reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers and regulators.” stakeholders”.

Many US lawmakers were unimpressed. A series of mysterious lung injuries linked to other vaping companies have further tarnished the reputation of the new industry. In 2019, San Francisco banned all vaping products that had not been reviewed by the FDA, preventing Juul from selling its products in its hometown. By the end of the year, Congress had approved legislation to raise the national age for the sale of e-cigarettes from 18 to 21.

None of this threatened Juul as much as the FDA, which began making big changes to the vaping market. In 2020 it ordered a halt to sales of all vaping products with sweet and fruity flavors, as Juul had seemed to anticipate, and in 2021 it denied marketing authorization for more than 55 000 flavored electronic cigarette products.

Finally, in June of this year, the FDA came after Juul, denying its own marketing application and ordering its products off the market. While official reasoning was that the company provided inadequate toxicology data, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf noted in a statement that Juul may have “played a disproportionate role in increasing youth vaping.” “.

Even though Juul survives, its moment as a disruptive market leader may have passed. Jeong, the Cornell graduate, says his peers stopped using Juuls when the company discontinued its popular flavors. People liked the mint, which sat on the shelves, but no one wanted to shoot a tobacco-flavored Juul.

Rather than give up their vaping habit, her friends have moved on to other brands that have emerged to reclaim Juul’s dwindling market share. One of them, Fume, is still selling flavors like pineapple, which Jeong describes as “drinking a piña colada,” thanks to a new regulatory loophole. The FDA ban applies to flavored vape cartridges, like Juul’s pods, but not to disposable e-cigarettes, which are pre-loaded and pre-filled. By 2020, the disposable Puff Bar, with flavors like Banana Ice and Blue Razz, had replaced Juul as the most popular vaping device among teens.

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