The United States prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes Juul Labs
Steph Deschamps / June 24, 2022
The U.S. agency in charge of health (FDA) banned Thursday the sale in the United States of all electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, brand Juul Laabs, with immediate effect, according to a statement.
The FDA found that the startup, which enjoyed phenomenal success in the late 2010s with its USB stick-shaped vaping machines and flavored nicotine refills, had not demonstrated that marketing its products was appropriate for the protection of public health. Following this decision, the company must stop selling and distributing the products for which it currently has an authorization. Those already in stores must be withdrawn from sale.
The agency was charged with reviewing vaping products to ensure that the benefit derived by adults, including to help them stop smoking traditional cigarettes, was greater than the risks posed to younger people. It had already banned in 2020 the marketing of refillable vaporizers, type Juul, with flavored flavors, allowing only tobacco and menthol flavors. She had retoqué since 2021 the vapoteuses of several companies but also gave the green light to some products presented by companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Logic or Njoy.
The ban announced Thursday demonstrates the FDA's commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarettes and other products delivering nicotine via an electronic device currently on the market meet public health standards, commented agency boss Robert Califf in the release. The FDA does not believe that Juul's products pose an immediate risk but believes that the company has not provided sufficient data to assess potential toxicological risks. The San Francisco-based startup has been accused of being heavily involved in the surge in teenage vaping with ads and marketing operations specifically targeting high school students.
Faced with pressure from the authorities, Juul Labs had already suspended in 2019 sales of flavored refills, prized by young people, and had committed to reviewing its marketing strategy. The company had not immediately reacted to a request from AFP. The American cigarette maker Altria, which owns 35% of the shares of Juul Labs had fallen by more than 9% on Wednesday after first press reports on an imminent decision of the FDA.
The company had made a big bet on Juul Labs in 2018 by investing more than $12 billion in a deal that valued it at $38 billion. At the time, it wanted to diversify its business base, as sales of conventional cigarettes had long been declining in the United States. But in the face of new restrictions by health authorities and costly legal disputes, Juul Labs' value has since melted away. Altria estimates that by the end of 2021, the startup was worth only about $5 billion.