By Kevin Lopez
Amid youth vaping concerns, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially taken Juul’s e-cigarettes off the market.
“Today’s action is further progress on the F.D.A. ‘s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” Dr. Robert M. Califf, the agency commissioner, said in a statement released June 23.
In 2020, the FDA required all vaping companies to be put under review, while also banning fruity flavored e-cigarettes. Juul Labs Inc, founded in 2015, has suffered the most from this review as they were once the most popular choice for e-cigarettes and had a 72% share of the market at the end of 2017.
The FDA ruling against Juul came after a nearly two-year review of data that Juul had submitted to try to win authorization to continue selling its tobacco and menthol-flavored products in the United States.
Juul encountered pushback when their marketing tactics appeared to target children. While the company has denied this, critics have alleged that their ads used attractive, “cool” young people and bright colors seemed to say otherwise.
The company has been criticized for purchasing ad space on children’s websites and for packing a the high volume of nicotine in it’s products, which is significantly more than other vaping companies, showed that their products can be harmful to the youth, though it is important to note that insufficient and conflicting data from Juuls about potentially harmful chemicals that could leach out of Juul’s e-liquid pods.
The Collegiate reached out to 10 local vape shops in Grand Rapids and in response some shops blamed the media for their role in this decision, many declined to comment, but some shops claimed that they stopped selling Juul products for quite a while now.
The Collegiate then asked for GRCC students for their reactions to the FDA’s decision to remove Juul products from the U.S. market.
Layne Flynn, 20, from Kentwood anticipated the ban, but was still puzzled about the decision.
“I saw it coming and I’m aware that now vaping may not be the best for you,” Flynn said. “But it is strange they stopped this one thing that could help you stop smoking cigarettes.”
Mason Moore, 21, from Middleville felt the ban was deserved, but also counterproductive. “I just feel like going after Juuls was a weird thing to focus on,” Moore said. “Especially because cigarettes are still readily available.”
Corey Jones, 22, from Grand Rapids expressed disgust and anger towards the ban.
“I personally used Juuls and I vape,” Jones said. “I just feel like this is all a misunderstanding especially because vaping is better than smoking.”
When asked if Juul deserved this ban, Jones was adamant that the product did not deserve the ban.
“I just feel like the review was an attack, especially because I feel like the science about the effects isn’t 100% there yet,” Jones said. “I feel like they are ruining an alternative to smoking, which is proven to be harmful and dangerous. I just think this a weird thing for the FDA to go after.”
Flynn was in agreement that the ban was unwarranted, feeling that Juul did not deserve the ban.
While Moore felt that because of the way they marketed their product the ban was deserved.
“It’s not that great what they are doing,”Moore said. ”It’s what tobacco companies did in the ‘60s and it’s pretty scummy how they did their marketing. What they are doing is completely irresponsible, but still it’s a weird hill to die on for the FDA, again especially because there are way worse products available.”
Flynn said some consumers will be upset, but will move on.
“I’m sure people will be pissed, but they’ll find other products to use,” Flynn said.
Moore said the ban won’t stop people from vaping, but it will stop people from using Juul’s. “Perhaps more people will continue to vape in protest, but the good thing is that people won’t use Juul’s, because of how they have done their marketing towards younger people and how it can affect them,” Moore said. “They don’t deserve the success they’ve had.”