Medical Groups Urge Immediate FDA Action to Address Rising Youth Use of Juul E-Cigarettes

“Juul is putting kids at risk of nicotine addiction and threatens to undermine decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use,” the health groups wrote to the FDA. 

Six leading public health and medical organizations urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take strong and immediate action to address the dramatic rise in teen use of Juul electronic cigarettes, which has been widely reported by media and educators across the United States.

The groups that sent a letter to the FDA are the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Truth Initiative, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association. Several members of Congress are also calling on the FDA to take action on Juul as well.

“The FDA is responsible for regulating tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and it unacceptable that the FDA has yet to take action to address the skyrocketing youth use of Juul.”

Introduced in 2015, Juul looks like a flash drive and can be charged on the USB port of a computer, comes in sweet flavors including mango and fruit medley, and delivers a strong dose of nicotine. The manufacturer, Juul Labs, claims that each Juul cartridge of nicotine liquid (called a "Juul pod") contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

Juul sales have grown dramatically and now make up more than half the e-cigarette market in convenience stores and other mass-market retailers, according to industry analysts.

The health and medical groups urged the FDA to take specific steps including, but not limited to:
  • Immediately ordering the removal of any Juul flavors, including the popular "mango" and "cool cucumber" flavors, which were introduced after August 8, 2016 without first seeking required FDA review and authorization. Such review is required for new or changed products under the FDA's 2016 rule extending the agency's authority to e-cigarettes. According to Juul's own social media posts, the "mango" and "cool cucumber" flavors were not introduced until 2017.
  • Ordering the removal of Juul-like e-cigarette products that have recently been introduced by other manufacturers without required FDA review.
  • Suspending internet sales of Juul until stronger rules are established to prevent sales to kids and step up enforcement to prevent underage sales by brick-and-mortar retailers.
  • Reversing the FDA's 2017 decision that allows e-cigarettes that were on the market as of August 8, 2016, to stay on the market until at least 2022 without undergoing review by the FDA. Health groups last month filed suit challenging the FDA's delay, arguing it is unlawful and harms public health by leaving on the market products that appeal to kids.
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