The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to remove Juul Lab’s e-cigarettes from the American market.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision, which comes after a two-year review of reams of data presented by the vaping company, could come as early as Wednesday.
The FDA has already prohibited the sale of fruit-flavored e-cigarettes after critics claimed they were aimed at teenagers. After tightening their oversight of the electronic cigarette market, regulators have been reviewing thousands of applications for vaping products.
According to the WSJ, Juul had no immediate comment. The company has three options for contesting the expected ruling: appeal the decision through the FDA, file a legal challenge, or file a revised application for its products.
Juul’s fruity flavors and “hip marketing” were blamed for an increase in underage vaping several years ago. Among the complaints were that Juul’s marketing campaigns featured young adult models, celebrities, and social media influencers. As a result, the company stopped using models, halted all advertising in the United States, and closed its Facebook and Instagram accounts.
In 2019, the company discontinued the sale of its fruity and sweet flavors. To remain on the market after 2020, all manufacturers were required to submit their products for FDA review. They are regarded as a potentially less harmful alternative for adult smokers, but they continue to be a concerning gateway to smoking for young people.
Juul’s FDA submission-only included menthol and Virginia Tobacco flavors with nicotine strengths of 3% and 5%. The company also proposed a new device that would only unlock for users aged 21 and up.
According to a federal study released last September, Juul’s popularity among young people is lower than it was previously: it is now ranked fourth among high schoolers, according to the WSJ.
Underage vaping, in general, has decreased since federal restrictions raised the legal purchasing age for tobacco products to 21, according to the newspaper.
The FDA also intends to mandate the removal of nearly all nicotine from cigarettes, claiming that this would devastate the $95 billion US cigarette industry. If the ruling is upheld, tobacco companies may file a lawsuit to challenge it, according to the newspaper.