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JUUL Ban Suggested By Former FDA Chief Gottlieb

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The former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who led the agency’s first moves to regulate vaping and electronic cigarettes, indicates that there should be a ban on JUUL products to remove the pod-based vape pens from the market.

According to Axios and other news outlets, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been making the rounds over the past month to different events, most recently on Wednesday, indicating that JUUL should be removed from the market due to the risk of teen nicotine addiction.

Gottlieb has reportedly said that the risks of nicotine addiction far outweigh JUUL’s claims that its devices help people stop smoking; a claim which has not been scientifically proven. In addition, he notes that most adults and former smokers use open tank vape systems, which are more expensive and whose intended purpose is obvious.

Juul and it’s disposable cartridge system have come to dominate the electronic cigarette market since it was introduced in 2015, now accounting for roughly 70% of all vaping sales. The JUUL pens were designed to look like USB thumb drives, and emit little to no visible vapor, leading to widespread use among teens and prior non-smokers, many of which now suffer lifelong nicotine addictions from JUULing.

Some say the design was intentionally targeted to underage, illegal users, who have to use the device covertly in schools and at home, and the product has been blamed for fueling the teen vaping epidemic in the United States.

Gottlieb led the FDA as JUUL came to prominence, and was the first commissioner to warn of vaping problems. Gottlieb swore to crack down on teen vaping, even threatening to ban e-cigarettes entirely if things did not improve. However, he resigned his position at the EPA in April, leaving the agency’s vaping enforcement actions in limbo.

In addition to Gottlieb, other organizations have also called for a JUUL ban, including the American Medical Association (AMA), which issued a statement on December 11, calling for all flavored vaping products to be immediately removed from the market.

“We cannot waste years or even decades on this emerging public health threat while a new generation falls prey to nicotine addiction,” AMA President Patrice A. Harris said in the press release. “The verdict on vaping is clear. The time for bold and decisive action is now.”

Despite growing evidence about the impact the JUUL has had on teens, state and the federal governments appear to be struggling with the issue and how to regulate the industry to protect consumers.

President Donald Trump reportedly backed off recent threats to ban flavored e-cigarettes, after a push by tobacco industry lobbyists. In addition, Massachusetts recently lifted a temporary ban on vaping in that state, saying it was unnecessary following increasing evidence that more than 2,000 nationwide lung illnesses linked to e-cigarettes appear to be the result of black market THC products, and not commercially sold vape pens.

Recent FDA data indicates that teen e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels in the United States, and JUUL Labs has been accused of fueling the growing teen nicotine addiction problems in the United States, through the design and marketing of their vape pen.

A recent study indicated that e-cigarette advertising reaches 80% of middle and high school students in the U.S. Another study warns that vaping during adolescence quadruples a teen’s risk of becoming a cigarette tobacco smoker later.

On September 9, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL, indicating there was evidence it told school-aged children that its products were safer than cigarettes, which has not been proven.

Later that month the CEO stepped down after it was announced JUUL was the target of a criminal investigation, and the company ceased all advertising in the U.S. Last month, the company ceased sales of its non-traditional flavored products, except tobacco, menthol and mint.

Gottlieb’s comments come as dozens of JUUL addiction lawsuits and class action lawsuits have been filed against the company in recent weeks, each raising allegations that the e-cigarette manufacturer marketed their products toward minors and prior non-smokers, while failing to warn that JUUL pods are more potent and addictive than traditional cigarettes.

As more parents and young adults step forward to pursue claims after becoming addicted to JUUL, it is widely expected that thousands of cases will be presented throughout the federal court system.

In October, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating all JUUL cases pending throughout the federal court system before Judge William H. Orrick III, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which is where JUUL Labs, Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters are located.

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