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Juul vs. FDA, What’s the buzz about?

Juuls+and+other+vapes+are+nearly+as+unhealthy+as+cigarettes%2C+according+to+the+Centers+for+Disease+Control.+Juul%2C+one+of+the+largest+vape+pen+manufacturers%2C+has+been+under+fire+for+its+marketing+to+under+age+audiences.
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Juul vs. FDA, What’s the buzz about?

Juuls and other vapes are nearly as unhealthy as cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Juul, one of the largest vape pen manufacturers, has been under fire for its marketing to under age audiences.

Juuls and other vapes are nearly as unhealthy as cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Juul, one of the largest vape pen manufacturers, has been under fire for its marketing to under age audiences.

Delaney Owens

Juuls and other vapes are nearly as unhealthy as cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Juul, one of the largest vape pen manufacturers, has been under fire for its marketing to under age audiences.

Delaney Owens

Delaney Owens

Juuls and other vapes are nearly as unhealthy as cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Juul, one of the largest vape pen manufacturers, has been under fire for its marketing to under age audiences.

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In light of the recent controversies over underage nicotine usage, the Food and Drug is cracking down on e-cigarette companies. Targeting JUUL, one of the most eminent e-cigarette franchises currently on the market, the FDA’s plan for action is leaving many people with mixed feelings.

Delaney Owens
The 2017 Monitoring the Future study showed that vape and Juul use is increasing in teens. According to the survey, 13% of eighth grade students use vapes or Juuls.

Introduced by PAX Labs on June 1, 2015, the e-cigarette company JUUL has made a monumental impact on the nicotine industry. JUUL announced itself as an independent electronic cigarette company in July 2017.
“Everything is electronic now so now no one is smoking cigarettes anymore. For instance, girls would never smoke cigarettes, but a large majority of teen girls will use a JUUL,” SENIOR Spencer Person said.
Since becoming an independent company, JUUL has made an estimated revenue of around $1.1 billion. Research by the FDA indicates that inhaling vaporized liquid nicotine is, to some extent, healthier than inhaling burned tobacco. Although the creation of electronic cigarettes has significantly helped adult smokers abandon traditional cigarettes, a new concern has arisen due to the exponential growth in use amongst minors.
Seeing the rapid increase of youth smokers sparked major concern for the FDA. The FDA’s commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, reported that he is considering it to be a dangerous public health problem.
“In order to close the on-ramp to e-cigarettes for kids, we have to put in place speed bumps for adults,” Gottlieb said.
The debate centers around the topic of e-cigarette flavors along with packaging and widespread advertisement of the products. Tobacco companies argue that flavors are not targeted at youths and the elimination of certain flavors could potentially cause a setback in the adult smokers transition from tobacco cigarettes.
While Gottlieb agrees that it may negatively affect adults, he offers that there is a misconception perceived by kids that these e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking, but claims that beginning at such a young age can lead to a lifelong addiction posing various health risks with the capacity to develop a move to standard cigarettes.
In April 2018, the FDA first publicly announced that they deemed this escalation of popularity in such devices as an epidemic as they began their plans for a serious crackdown. Months later in September, Gottlieb declared his warning to JUUL Labs, along with several other isolated e-cigarette companies, notifying them that they had 60 days to create a plan proving that they are capable of keeping their devices away from minors, and that failure to comply or successfully initiate change would risk a product ban.
On Nov. 13, JUUL announced that they are no longer accepting orders from retail stores for flavored pods. Removing flavors such as mango, fruit, creme brûlée and cucumber from stores, they will still be keeping their best seller, mint, along with menthol and tobacco. The FDA exempted those three flavors in their plan primarily because they are identical to the other products on the market for adult smokers. Mint, however, is not exactly comparable to combustible cigarettes, and with its popularity in sales, may soon become another FDA target.
“The ban on JUUL flavor pods won’t stop minors from getting it at all. People could order online and sell to minors, as well as buy out the flavor in retail stores before the ban,” Kristen Cathey, ‘20, said. “Even if JUUL is successful in the ban to minors, e-cigarette use will still be prevalent because there are still competing companies like VUSE and Suorin that people will switch to.”
Other students have expressed similar concerns with the ban.
As JUUL controls about 72 percent of the e-cigarette market, the FDA was consistent in pushing for their plan. After waiting since April, the FDA launched a surprise inspection of JUUL Labs. They confiscated hundreds of documents in order to make a conclusion on whether or not JUUL was intentionally targeting minors, and contributing to the e-cigarette epidemic among teens.
EO Kevin Burns defends the company, saying that they had already handed over 50,000 documents to the FDA previously.
“The way the devices are marketed and look, they appeal to many people,” Emma Martyniuk, ‘20, said. “They are sleek, they don’t appear as gross and dirty as cigarettes. That is one reason why I believe people I know started using it. To combat the JUUL epidemic, awareness towards the nicotine addiction stigma should be addressed and instead of punishing children for using, places like schools should require they take a substance abuse class.”
Others agree that the actions of the FDA would be ineffective.
“Taking out the fruity flavors will most likely not affect the people who JUUL now. Since they are addicted already, they will continue to buy the pods regardless of the flavor,” Stephen Staab, ‘22, said.
Online purchase verifications are now going to be more thorough, according to JUUL representatives, but they have not released the complete plan. This early in the move, it is not yet clear whether or not this ban will successfully decrease the e-cigarette use and addiction with minors.
The FDA hopes that its plan will curb sales to youths and are going to keep a close eye on the progress, or lack thereof.

Delaney Owens
E-cigarette use is increasing exponentially in recent years according to CNN.

About the Contributors
Elizabeth Ramos, Style & Culture Writer

Retiring her yearbook career after two years of being on the staff, Elizabeth joined the Chatterbox staff for the first time!

Elizabeth has always loved...

Delaney Owens, Style & Culture Section Editor

Style & Culture Section Editor

In her third year as a Chatterbox staff member, Delaney Owens is the section editor of Style and Culture. This year,...

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