The sale of all products sold by Juul, one of the country’s leading e-cigarette businesses, is prohibited in the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that it lacked sufficient data to determine if marketing the firm’s products were “appropriate for the protection of public health.”
Juul stated that it will contest the move.
It follows other recent FDA anti-smoking initiatives, such as plans to restrict the amount of addictive nicotine allowed in cigarettes.
The agency had already prohibited the fruity flavours that helped Juul become an adolescent sensation a few years ago.
“Today’s action is further progress on the FDA’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” FDA commissioner Robert M. Califf said in a statement.
Juul, established in 2015 in California by a couple of ex-smokers, has marketed its vaping pods as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
However, the devices, which contain high nicotine concentrations, have sparked concerns as teen use has increased, with more than a quarter of high schools using e-cigarettes in 2019, according to a federal poll.
The FDA said in 2020 that companies will be required to submit their e-cigarette products for approval. It has since given some of them the go-ahead.
The FDA stated in its statement that it has received no information indicating a “immediate hazard.”
It also observed Juul’s continued dominance in the market, despite the fact that the devices under study had nicotine levels of 3 per cent and 5 per cent.
“We recognise these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping,” Mr Califf said.
Juul said it would seek a stay of the verdict, allowing it to continue selling while it considers its options, including an appeal.
“We respectfully disagree with the FDA’s findings and decision and continue to believe we have provided sufficient information and data based on high-quality research to address all issues raised by the agency,” the firm’s chief regulatory officer, Joe Murillo, said in a statement.
“We intend to seek a stay and are exploring all of our options under the FDA’s regulations and the law, including appealing the decision and engaging with our regulator.
“We remain committed to doing all in our power to continue serving the millions of American adult smokers who have successfully used our products to transition away from combustible cigarettes, which remain available on market shelves nationwide,” he added.
Juul’s company has already been harmed by regulatory action, as officials probed its teen marketing techniques and tightened restrictions on which flavours could be marketed. International constraints have also hampered its spread outside of the United States.
Altria Group, which purchased a 35% share in the company in 2018 for more than $12 billion, has been forced to write off a large portion of its investment.
The company’s stock dropped 9 per cent on Wednesday after the Wall Street Journal published the ban’s plans.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)