Statement: FDA to order Juul e-cigs off market, WSJ reports

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

WASHINGTON —  In a decision that should help stem the youth vaping epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to order Juul to take its e-cigarettes off the market. The Wall Street Journal says that could happen as early as Wednesday. The decision would come after a two-year review of data that Juul submitted to the FDA. While the e-cigarettes were unapproved, the FDA allowed them to remain on store shelves.

Among vapers of all ages, Juul has been the best-selling e-cigarette brand in the United States in recent years. More than 2 million U.S. high school and middle school students were current users of e-cigarettes according to the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey. Of those, 130,000 said Juul was their “usual” brand.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can harm adolescent brain development — and all Juul e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine; a single Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. Also, the CDC says Juul makes some of the few e-cigarettes that use nicotine salts, which allow particularly high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation.

In response to the FDA’s action, PIRG Public Health Campaigns Director Matt Wellington said:

“Better late than never for this action. But over the years that the FDA allowed unapproved Juul e-cigs on store shelves, millions of American teens fell into the nicotine trap and are now on the road to a lifetime of addiction. Taking Juuls off the market is a victory for public health, but it’s not enough. 

“The FDA shouldn’t allow any e-cigarettes to be sold while the companies’ applications are still under review. And to make a true dent in youth vaping, the agency should immediately end the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol.”