Juul vape cartridges are pictured for sale at a shop in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Sales of Juul e-cigarettes were blocked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, in a major blow to the once high-flying firm whose products have been tied to a surge in teenage vaping.
The agency said the applications “lacked sufficient evidence” to show that sale of the products would be appropriate for public health, following a nearly two-year-long review of data provided by the company.
Some of the findings raised concerns due to insufficient and conflicting data, including whether potentially harmful chemicals could leach out of the Juul pods, the FDA said.
“We respectfully disagree with the FDA’s findings … intend to seek a stay and are exploring all of our options under the FDA’s regulations and the law, including appealing the decision and engaging with our regulator,” said Joe Murillo, chief regulatory officer at Juul.
The company said it had appropriately characterized the toxicological profile of its products and that the data met the statutory standard of being “appropriate for the protection of the public health.”
Juul and other e-cigarette brands, including British American Tobacco Plc’s (BATS.L) Vuse and Imperial Brands Plc’s (IMB.L) Blu, had to meet a September 2020 deadline to file applications to the FDA showing the products provided a net benefit to public health.
The heath regulator had to judge whether each product was effective in getting smokers to quit and, if so, whether the benefits to smokers outweighed the potential health damage to new e-cigarette users – including teenagers – who never smoked.
“The agency has dedicated significant resources to review products from the companies that account for most of the U.S. market. We recognize … many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement.
Teenage use of e-cigarettes surged with the rise in popularity of Juul in 2017 and 2018. Its use among high school students grew to 27.5% in 2019 from 11.7% in 2017, but fell to 11.3% in 2021, a federal survey showed.
Juul did not provide evidence to show the products were up to its standards and that raised “significant questions”, the FDA said, but added it has so far not received clinical information to suggest an immediate hazard tied to the device or pods.
Published: June 23, 2022
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