Juul illegally called its e-cigarette safer than smoking, FDA says

Marco Green
September 11, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking e-cigarette giant Juul to task for violating federal regulations with its marketing. The agency is also concerned that a company representative told students its e-cigs were "totally safe", according to the students' testimony before Congress.

The FDA's warning letter also raises issues with certain statements made by those attending a July U.S. congressional hearing where a panel grilled Juul over a "holistic health education" camp it funded, as part of efforts to market its products directly to school-aged children. The letter cites testimony that Juul's advertising "saturated social media channels frequented by underage teens", and "used influencers and discount coupons to attract new customers".

In a statement, acting FDA commissioner Norman "Ned" Sharpless said "companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful" than conventional cigarettes.

"We believe you have a continuing responsibility to take action to address the epidemic of youth use of your products, some of which appears to have been a direct result of your product design and marketing campaigns, whether or not some of these practices have been discontinued", the FDA's separate letter to Juul said.

Meredith Berkman, a New York City resident and co-founder of Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), testified that she and other mothers formed their advocacy group after a Juul representative gave a deceptive presentation to their children in school without teachers present, school administrator knowledge, or parental consent.

A spokesman for Juul said the company is reviewing the warning.

E-cigarettes have been on the USA market for more than a decade, but the FDA didn't gain the authority to regulate them until 2016. And under pressure, it voluntarily removed its fruit and dessert flavors from retail stores.

Recently, San Francisco issued a ban on all non-FDA approved e-cigarette products, MI issued a ban on e-cigarettes in general and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a state-wide ban on all flavored e-cigarette products today.

Most experts agree the aerosol from e-cigarettes is less harmful than cigarette smoke because it doesn't contain most of the cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco. But there is virtually no research on the long-term effects of vaping. We must not stand by while e-cigarettes continue to go unregulated.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that federal- and state- level scientists said they believe an oil derived from Vitamin E found in cannabis vapor may be responsible for the lung damage in numerous illnesses.

Regulators asked the company to explain why it uses nicotine salts and how this affects potential addiction.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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