🚬 Banning the Crown Juul
Big Tobacco's cat and mouse game with the FDA is back in the news. This time with the ban of products by e-cigarette maker Juul (owned by Altria, formerly Phillip Morris). While the FDA has been publicly vocal about how vapes and e-cigarettes are contributing to the rise in smoking and nicotine addiction among teens, the agency's ban was directed rather at something else. The FDA's decision “was based on what the agency said was insufficient and conflicting data from the company about potentially harmful chemicals that could leach out of Juul’s e-liquid pods,” reports the New York Times.
“Today’s action is further progress on the F.D.A.’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” Dr. Robert M. Califf, FDA commissioner, said in a statement.
In response, Juul immediately filed a stay of the ban, which has since been temporarily granted.
The Temporary Stay
At the end of the week, a federal appeals court granted Juul's stay request. In its filing, the company argued that the FDA's ban was based on politics rather than science. Juul added that the political pressure to ban its products was aimed at stemming the youth vaping crisis, “even though several of its competitors now have a larger market share and much higher underage-use rates,” the filing reads, according to the New York Times. The FDA has until July 7th to file a motion in response.
It's clear that the genie is already out of the bottle when it comes to teens and vaping. If that is the FDA's underlying goal with the Juul ban, then it’s too little too late. If, as the FDA states, the ban is rather a public safety matter, then Juul would be wise to make a safer vape and keep itself out of bigger problems.