On Sep. 9, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to JUUL Labs Inc., which dominates the U.S. e-cigarette market with their vaping products. According to the letter, JUUL has been engaging in illegal and deceitful marketing tactics by making unproven claims about the safety of its products. This comes as federal health officials investigate over 450 cases of possible lung disease and six fatalities linked to vaping in 33 states, which includes Georgia.
To make claims like these, companies need to be granted an appropriate FDA order that verifies their accuracy. In the letter, the FDA commented on the lawlessness of the claims, saying that “regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum on tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful. JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth.” E-cigarette use is exceedingly popular in adolescents, with one survey revealing that nearly 28 percent of high school students have vaped at least once in the past year.
In a separate letter sent to JUUL, the FDA expressed concern over information uncovered during a July 24 Congressional hearing regarding JUUL’s role in the youth nicotine addiction epidemic. During the meeting, it came to light that a JUUL representative had made several unproven claims in a school presentation directed toward adolescents. Among the statements include the following: the “FDA would approve [JUUL] any day”, JUUL products are “totally safe” and JUUL is a “safer alternative than smoking cigarettes” for youth addicted to nicotine. The two letters are part of the FDA’s recent efforts to more strictly oversee the e-cigarette company.
On Sep. 11, just two days after the release of the FDA’s warning letter, the federal government called for the nationwide removal of flavored e-cigarettes. According to Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services Secretary, the current administration “is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities. We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.” While the tobacco-flavored pods would still be available, they currently account for less than 20 percent of JUUL’s U.S. sales. Popular JUUL flavors today include mango, cool mint, creme brulee and fruit medley.
If you or a loved one (who was NOT a previous cigarette smoker) developed lung disease such as Bronchiolitis Obliterans due to vaping, contact the injury advocates at Childers, Schlueter, & Smith by calling 800-641-0098 or fill out our online contact form to discuss your legal options. All initial inquiries are free of charge and without obligation.
Please note we are not able to speak or correspond to anyone that is 18 years of age or under. We can and will only legally be allowed to speak with a parent or guardian to ensure COPPA compliance.
A partner with Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC,, Brandon Smith has devoted his practice to pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts, products liability and serious personal injury. A frequent guest speaker at legal seminars all over the country—Brandon is focused on helping injured victims nationwide, however possible. Named a SuperLawyer again in 2019, he has also been called out as one of 10 Best Attorneys For Georgia by the American Institute Of Personal Injury Attorneys and a Top 100 Lawyer in Georgia by the National Trial Lawyers in 2019.