Report: Federal ban on popular Juul products forthcoming amid youth vaping concerns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reportedly preparing an order to remove Juul Labs vaping products from the market.

The move to ban Juul’s e-cigarettes could come as soon as Wednesday following a two-year review of the vaping powerhouse’s application seeking authorization to continue selling non-fruit-flavored products, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

The FDA has reviewed marketing applications from Juul and hundreds of other companies amid calls from anti-tobacco groups to crack down on products that led to a surge in youth vaping in the last decade. But advocates of these nicotine-delivering devices say they can help adult smokers kick the habit of smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products.

Juul did not immediately comment on the report. An FDA spokeswoman said the agency did not have any information about the timing of the agency’s decision on Juul’s application.

In 2020, the FDA required all e-cigarette and vaping companies to submit applications to continue marketing products. The agency also banned fruit- and mint-flavored juice pods used in e-cigarettes and vaping products, a ban that did not apply to menthol and tobacco-flavored products.

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In September, the FDA banned the sale of hundreds of thousands of vaping and electronic cigarette products but did not rule on Juul, which came under fire for its appeal to youth vapers.

The FDA’s potential removal of Juul products, rejecting the company’s application to sell menthol- and tobacco-flavored products, is “long overdue,” said Erika Sward, the American Lung Association’s national assistant vice president of advocacy.

“Juul is largely responsible for the youth vaping epidemic,” Sward said. “No company and no product that has such blatant disregard for the health of our children and public health should be allowed to remain on the market.”

FDA regulators likely determined Juul “did not provide enough evidence to show that their product is still not appealing to youth,” said Theodore Wagener, director of the Center for Tobacco Research and co-leader of the Cancer Control Program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

While underage vaping rates soared last decade, more recent surveys showed the rate is declining. The National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2021 reported about 11% of high school students vaped, down from 19.6% in 2020

“You probably will continue to see a decline in youth vaping because you’re also seeing the market shrink more and more,” Wagener said.

Wagener said he is involved in a study evaluating whether smokers who want to quit are willing to try nicotine replacement therapies or switch to e-cigarettes. The study is ongoing, but some have kicked the habit by switching to e-cigarettes, he said. 

As more vaping products are removed from the market, “my concern is it will also limit the potential appeal of e-cigarettes for older adult smokers who were looking to switch” from tobacco cigarettes, Wagener said. 

Ken Alltucker is on Twitter at @kalltucker, or can be emailed at alltuck@usatoday.com.