Experts say the FDA’s ban on Juul e-cigarettes could be the ‘opening weapon’ for an industry-wide crackdown

Experts say the FDA’s ban on Juul e-cigarettes could be the ‘opening weapon’ for an industry-wide crackdown

An illustration shows a man exhaling smoke from an e-cigarette in Washington, D.C., on October 2, 2018.

An illustration shows a man exhaling smoke from an e-cigarette in Washington, D.C., on October 2, 2018.EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images

  • Four experts told Insider that the FDA Juul ban could signal a bigger trend for the industry.

  • The decision may be a result of pressure from the Biden administration to address teen smoking.

  • Earlier this month, the WSJ reported that the White House wanted to cut nicotine in traditional cigarettes.

The US ban on Juul Labs e-cigarettes could be the first step towards a greater crackdown on vaping, according to several industry experts.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Thursday that Juul Labs will no longer be able to sell its e-cigarettes and must remove all of its products from the US market immediately. The health group said the decision is part of its campaign to ensure that e-cigarettes are “appropriate for the protection of public health”.

In its press release, the FDA said that Juul Labs was unable to provide sufficient evidence that its vapes did not leach potentially dangerous chemicals. Juul Labs regulatory director Joe Murillo said in a statement to Insider that the company believes it has “provided sufficient information and data based on high quality research to address all issues raised by the agency” and plans to appeal the decision.

But four experts told Insider that the ban on Juul e-cigarettes could signal a bigger impact on the industry.

“I think this is just the opening gun,” said John Bansahf, a lawyer and legal activist who teaches at the George Washington University School of Law. “It appears that Juul was chosen first in large part because of its marketing aimed at children.”

The e-cigarette brand gained popularity in 2017 after a massive social media campaign. The brand became known for its fruity flavors and faced scrutiny from the FDA over concerns that its marketing campaign was targeting minors. In response, Juul Labs stopped selling fruit-flavored e-cigarettes and scaled back its advertising campaign in 2019.

“This FDA ban puts e-cigarette manufacturers on high alert,” Alan Holcolmb, an attorney who focuses on product liability at Turnbull Holcomb, told Insider. “These manufacturers no longer have the unfettered ability to manufacture harmful products and sell them to masses of young people without significant government oversight. This is a huge win for public health and consumer advocates.”

Last year, an FDA study estimated that more than 2 million US middle and high school students used e-cigarettes, but the Juul brand has lost much of the popularity it enjoyed during its heyday. The company’s market share has dropped from 75% in 2018 to around 42% last year. Last year, a national survey found that more than half of high school students who used vaporizers preferred the Puff Bar.

When asked by Insider about potential FDA action against other e-cigarette brands, the FDA said it was prioritizing app reviews from “manufacturers with the highest market share at the time, because decisions about those apps should have the greatest impact.” in public health.”

“As a result, the FDA allocated significant resources to review applications from the five companies whose brands represented more than 95% of the e-cigarette market at the time: Fontem (blu), JUUL, Logic, NJOY and RJ Reynolds (Vuse),” he said. the FDA to the Insider. The FDA has already issued rulings on e-cigarette products from Fontem (blue), Logic, NJOY and RJ Reynolds (Vuse) this year, approving some and denying others.

Kenneth Warner, dean emeritus of public health at the University of Michigan, called the reason behind the ban “essentially political”.

“There was so much opposition to Juul — from parent groups, organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (the most influential tobacco NGO) and lawmakers in state legislatures and Congress — that the FDA simply could not have authorized the sale of Juul.” , he told Insider. “The reaction would have been fierce and possibly even threaten the agency’s funding.”

Bansahf, who founded an anti-smoking group called Action on Smoking and Health, said the decision was likely a result of pressure from the Biden administration on a larger agenda against the tobacco industry. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House plans to dramatically decrease nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes.

“This rejection of Juul could signal your willingness to remove nicotine from cigarettes, which will end your smoking habit,” Robert Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford University, told Insider.

However, Eric Lindblom, former director of tobacco control at the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University, said he views the ban as too “product specific” to indicate future bans on other brands of e-cigarettes, especially in light of the dozens of FDA-approved e-cigarette products through its pre-market tobacco product application (PMTA) process.

Juul Labs has submitted its PMTA, which was initially accepted nearly two years ago. Every tobacco company is required to file one in order to gain approval to continue selling it commercially — a process that Warner says allows the FDA to withdraw many companies from the market.

Ultimately, experts said the future of the e-cigarette market comes down to whether brands can prove their company has more benefits when it comes to helping adults quit smoking rather than enticing young adults to start vaping. .

Read the original article on Business Insider

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