FDA Forces JUUL to Stop Selling Flavored Pods and to Shut Down Social Media

In compliance with the Federal Drug Administration’s request, JUUL will shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as stop the retail sale of flavored pods except for mint, menthol and tobacco. The FDA has been conducting research on e-cigarette companies’ illegal marketing to kids, noting that while it’s against the law to sell to people under 18, over 2 million middle and high school students used e-cigarette products in 2017.

JUUL CEO Kevin Burns responded in a statement saying, “we are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people. Our mission is to improve the lives of adult smokers by providing them with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.”

According to Burns, 99% of social media content relating to the company comes from users, not the company itself. To prevent further sales to minors, JUUL will eliminate those accounts, retaining only Twitter and YouTube for “non-promotional use only.” It will also stop selling flavored pods to more than 90,000 retail locations including convenience stores, gas stations and vape shops. Flavors will only be available through the website to those 21 and over, and JUUL will be increasing the security restrictions on the site to ensure they are not selling to underage consumers.

Courtesy: Adweek.com

Burns says that JUUL is devoted to helping adults addicted to cigarettes quit smoking, but “we don’t want anyone who doesn’t smoke, or already use nicotine, to use JUUL products. We certainly don’t want young using the product.”

The FDA is trying to prevent all teen e-cigarette use and is expected to ban all flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores. Jon-Patrick Allem, a research scientist at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, says many young people have misperceptions about the product. He found “many young adults – about 40% of college-aged students, 18 to 24 – were unaware that all JUUL products have nicotine in them.”

Young people perceive e-cigarette products to be safe, but research is inconclusive. A report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that they help smokers stop using tobacco products, but they lack evidence of the effect on users’ hearts, lungs, or reproductive systems because they haven’t been around long enough to study.

FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb calls the e-cigarette use among young people an “epidemic” and plans to limit accessibility for minors. “The FDA will not allow the proliferation of e-cigarettes or other tobacco products potentially being marketed illegally and outside of the agency’s compliance policy, and we will take swift action when companies are skirting the law.”