June 30, 2022

FDA bans Juul e-cigarettes tied to teen vaping surge

WASHINGTON — Federal well being officers on Thursday ordered Juul to pull its digital cigarettes from the U.S. market, the most recent blow to the embattled firm broadly blamed for sparking a nationwide surge in teen vaping.

The motion is a part of a sweeping effort by the Meals and Drug Administration to carry scientific scrutiny to the multibillion-dollar vaping trade after years of regulatory delays.

Dad and mom, politicians and anti-tobacco advocates wished a ban on the units that many blame for the rise in underage vaping. Supporters say they will help people who smoke in the reduction of on common cigarettes.

The FDA famous that Juul could have performed a “disproportionate role in the rise in teen vaping and its application didn’t have enough evidence to show that marketing its products “could be applicable for the safety of the general public well being.”

The company has granted some e-cigarette purposes. Since final fall, the company has given its OK to tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes from R.J. Reynolds, Logic and different firms.

However trade gamers and anti-tobacco advocates have complained that these merchandise account for only a tiny p.c of the $6 billion vaping market within the U.S.

Regulators repeatedly delayed making choices on units from market leaders, together with Juul, which stays the best-selling vaping model though gross sales have dipped.

Final 12 months, the company rejected purposes for greater than 1,000,000 different e-cigarettes and associated merchandise, primarily due to their potential attraction to underage teenagers.

To remain available on the market, firms should present that their merchandise profit public well being. In observe, meaning proving that grownup people who smoke who use the merchandise are probably to stop or cut back their smoking, whereas teenagers are unlikely to get hooked on them.

E-cigarettes first appeared within the U.S. greater than a decade in the past with the promise of offering people who smoke a much less dangerous different. The units warmth a nicotine resolution right into a vapor that is inhaled, bypassing lots of the poisonous chemical compounds produced by burning tobacco.

However research have reached conflicting outcomes about whether or not they really assist people who smoke stop. And efforts by the FDA to rule on vaping merchandise and their claims have been repeatedly slowed by trade lobbying and competing political pursuits.

The vaping market grew to embrace tons of of firms promoting an array of units and nicotine options in varied flavors and strengths.

The vaping challenge took on new urgency in 2018 when Juul’s high-nicotine, fruity-flavored cartridges shortly turned a nationwide craze amongst center and highschool college students. The corporate faces a slew of federal and state investigations into its early advertising practices, which included distributing free Juul merchandise at concert events and events hosted by younger influencers.

In 2019, the corporate was pressured into halting all promoting and eliminating its fruit and dessert flavors. The following 12 months, the FDA restricted flavors in small vaping units to simply tobacco and menthol. Individually, Congress raised the acquisition age for all tobacco and vaping merchandise to 21.

However the query of whether or not e-cigarettes ought to stay available on the market in any respect remained.

The FDA has been working underneath a court docket order to render its choices; anti-tobacco teams efficiently sued the company to velocity up its overview.

FDA regulators warned firms for years they might have to submit rigorous, long-term information exhibiting a transparent profit for people who smoke who change to vaping. However all however the largest e-cigarette producers have resisted conducting that type of costly, time-consuming analysis.

Whereas Juul stays a high vendor, a current federal survey exhibits that teen have been shifting away from the corporate. Final 12 months’s survey confirmed Juul was the fourth hottest e-cigarette amongst excessive schoolers who commonly vape. The most well-liked model was a disposable e-cigarette referred to as Puff Bar that is available in flavors like pink lemonade, strawberry and mango. That firm’s disposable e-cigarettes had been ready to skirt regulation as a result of they use artificial nicotine, which till lately was exterior the FDA’s jurisdiction. Congress lately closed that loophole.

Total, the survey confirmed a drop of almost 40% within the teen vaping fee as many youngsters have been pressured to be taught from dwelling in the course of the pandemic. Nonetheless, federal officers cautioned about decoding the outcomes given they have been collected on-line for the primary time, as an alternative of in school rooms.

The brainchild of two Stanford College college students, Juul launched in 2015 and inside two years rocketed to the highest of the vaping market. Juul, which is partially owned by tobacco large Altria, nonetheless accounts for almost 50% of the U.S. e-cigarette market. It as soon as managed greater than 75%.

On Tuesday, the FDA additionally laid out plans to set up a most nicotine degree for sure tobacco merchandise to cut back their addictiveness. In that announcement, the company additionally famous that it has invested in a multimedia public training marketing campaign geared toward warning younger folks concerning the potential dangers of e-cigarette use.


AP Well being Author Tom Murphy contributed to this report.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Schooling. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.