Juul, the e-cigarette company that took the US by storm five years ago and was valued at its peak at $38 billion, is about to be kicked out of the country, according to the WSJ. According to a report released earlier today, the Food and Drug Administration may announce as early as today that the San Francisco-based company is no longer allowed to sell its products in the US.
As the WSJ writes, the “no-marketing order” follows a nearly two-year review of data provided by Juul, which said in 2019 that it was suspension all print, broadcast and digital advertising in the United States after parents across the country complained that their children were exposed to and addicted to Juul products.
The company also agreed to stop selling its sweet-flavored e-liquid, including fruit, cream, mango, and cucumber flavors.
Since then, Juul, which sold a 35% stake in its business to tobacco giant Altria for $12.8 billion in 2018, has spent millions of dollars lobbying the federal government in hopes of continuing to sell its tobacco and menthol products. products in the US market.
According to the New York Times report last summer, Juul also applied for 125,000 pages to the agency; shelled out $40 million to settle just one lawsuit; and paid $51,000 to have the entire May/June 2021 issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior focus on 11 company-funded studies to show that Juul products help smokers quit traditional cigarettes.
Juul who stood before thousands lawsuits until they were consolidated into a multi-district litigation overseen by a single federal judge also agreed to pay $22.5 million in April to settle a lawsuit filed by the State of Washington alleging that the company intentionally targeted its products to teenagers and misled consumers about its products being addictive.
As reported, under the terms settlementJuul admitted no wrongdoing or liability, saying it settled “for the purpose of compromising” and to avoid further litigation (litigation that could interfere with the progress he hoped to make with the FDA).
It was obviously too little, too late, even though the FDA will apparently allow Juul’s biggest competitors, Reynolds American and NJOY Holdings, to continue to market their own tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.
Assuming her days in the US are over, the head wraps up an incredible journey for the seven-year-old company that easily won over 75% of the US e-cigarette market by its third year of business, thanks in large part to the sleek nicotine vaporizer design.
Indeed, in 2018 it was reportedly expected to generate at least $1 billion in revenue and received backing from investors with big pockets, including Tiger Global and Fidelity Investments, money he planned to spend internationally to attract the estimated one billion non-US smokers.
The FDA, led at the time by Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is also a physician and venture capitalist, would have thwarted those plans. In front of Gottlieb, the Food and Drug Administration spoke in awe of year after year of high school vape pen use, as well as a smaller but alarming percentage of middle school-aged kids who started vaping.
Juul initially refused the data. At an event hosted by this editor in the fall of 2018 — the only public speaking event where Juul co-founders and former Stanford University design students Adam Bowen and James Monsis spoke together — they were still arguing about the benefits of Juul flavored capsules, saying they made it easier smokers switching to their product and “reduced the harm”.
At the time, flavor removal was “of course on the table,” Monsey suggested. But he went on to say that “we have not seen evidence that there is a causal relationship for tastes to necessarily attract the attention of underage consumers. Cigarettes have been a major problem for underage users for some time now. What we do see as strong evidence of intrinsic is a much stronger correlation for adult users staying away from cigarettes as they move away from everything that reminds them of cigarettes in the first place, including the taste of cigarettes.”
It took one more 13 months for Juul to suspend the sale of these flavored products.
According to doctors and researchers, vaping is less harmful than smoking, but it is just as addictive and there are many unknowns. For example, new data show links to chronic lung disease and asthmaas well as associations between dual use of e-cigarettes and smoking with cardiovascular diseasessays Michael Blaha, MD, MPhD, director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for Cardiovascular Prevention in an online explainer hosted by the medical center.
When vaping, he adds, “you’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and that are probably not safe.”
It is not clear how successful Juul was overseas. Juul sales in China were stopped just days after its domestic launch in 2019. During the pandemic, he reportedly planned significantly reduce its presence in Europe and stop sales in Austria, Belgium, Portugal, France and Spain, according to BuzzFeed News.
Europe, as noted at the time, also has stricter e-cigarette regulations, including tighter nicotine restrictions than the US.
Credit: techcrunch.com /