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The FDA Against Juul in the United States, What Will Happen to the Electronic Cigarette?

The weight of the US government could fall on Juul, the world's most popular e-cigarette brand .

Woman holding an electronic cigarette

Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: LA FDA contra Juul en Estados Unidos, ¿qué pasará con el cigarillo electrónico?

A legal battle is currently taking place in the United States against Juul, one of the most popular brands of electronic cigarettes. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) gave the company an order last Thursday to remove its product from the US market. Although Juul managed to temporarily appeal the decision on Friday and is awaiting a response, what happens could shake the e-cigarette market significantly.

Understanding the Decision

According to a press release from the FDA, the decision seeks that "electronic cigarettes and their associated nicotine pods sold in the US market meet FDA standards." In the same statement, the organization argues that Juul has played an important role in the growth of the number of young people who vape in the United States. Recent investigations show that this kind of cigarette has hazardous effects and young people are more vulnerable. 

So on the one hand there is concern about the health of young people, but on the other hand, there is the fact that the company has not released important toxicological information on its product, even though the FDA gave it the opportunity. In its statement, the FDA clarifies that "there is insufficient evidence to evaluate the possible toxicological risks of the use of JUUL products". Only this fact can already raise suspicions about the actions of the company.

You can also read: Why Does the US Want to Ban the Sale of Location Data??

The Vaping Epidemic Among Children and Adolescents

A key factor in this decision is the fact that vaping, largely popularized by Juul, has become a public health concern for American children and adolescents.

What was sold as a replacement for harmful tobacco is becoming an even worse problem than this. According to Parents Against Vaping, a parent organization protesting vaping: “In 2018, 3.6 million children vaped. In 2019, 5.3 million children are vaping.”

According to this same organization, Juul is problematic because its marketing was aimed at the younger population, showing "young people in fashionable and fun situations." They also argue that initially the device's variety of flavors, which included peppermint, menthol, crème Brule, mango, and cucumber, contributed to its popularity with teenagers. The pressure was so great that the brand was forced to sell only two flavors: tobacco and menthol. The design of the vape, which resembles a USB device, also makes it easy to hide, making it difficult for parents and teachers to take preventive actions.

And, despite the fact that Juul is sold as a healthier alternative to cigarettes, there is no scientific evidence to prove this fact. What's more, a Juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as a pack and a half of cigarettes.

The prohibition of the sale of Juul products could set a precedent that would force similar brands to change their marketing strategies, in the short term, or force their disappearance or disapproval in various public spaces, as happened at the time with cigarettes.