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FDA to Juul: Pull Your E-Cigs Off the Market

Decision is a major blow to the vaping company
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2022 7:29 AM CDT
Updated Jun 23, 2022 11:31 AM CDT
Report: FDA Plans to Ban Juul Products
A researcher holds vape pens in a laboratory in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)

Update: This summary has been updated to reflect the FDA decision. The FDA on Thursday ordered Juul to take its e-cigs and other products off the market in the US, reports the New York Times, which describes it as a "profoundly damaging blow" to the company. The agency found that Juul may have played a "disproportionate" role in the popularity of teen vaping, per the AP, and hadn't provided enough data about potentially harmful chemicals the products might contain. Our story from Wednesday follows:

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to release its decision on Juul's vaping products—and insiders say the regulator will have bad news for the former market leader. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that the FDA plans to order the company to take its e-cigarettes off the market, though rivals Reynolds American Inc. and NJOY Holdings Inc. have been allowed to keep selling their products. Shares in Marlboro owner Altria, which paid $12.8 billion in 2018 for a 35% stake in Juul, dived almost 10% after the Journal's report. In March, Altria valued its Juul stake at just $1.6 billion.

Juul is facing numerous lawsuits—and, according to the Journal's sources, a criminal investigation—over allegations that it targeted children and teenagers. After a 2019 study found that Juul was the top e-cigarette brand among high school students, Juul stopped selling flavors including mango and mint. Fruit and mint-flavored e-cigarette cartridges were later banned by the FDA. Juul's FDA application, which has been under review for almost two years, included only tobacco and menthol flavors.

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Edward Ongweso Jr. at Vice accuses regulators of being "unambitious cowards" in their approach to vaping products and says the "differences between Juul and its competitors are minimal at best." Juul, he says, is "being hit with a ban because it was the first to get caught and will be made an example of." In its April decision on NJOY products, the FDA said allowing the products to be sold "does not mean these products are safe nor are they 'FDA approved,'" adding: "All tobacco products are harmful and potentially addictive. Those who do not use tobacco products shouldn’t start." (Read more Juul stories.)

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