JUUL Labs responds to FDA concerns about flavored e-liquids

In a statement released today, Juul Labs has responded to FDA moves to increase regulation on flavored tobacco products in order to curb underage use. This comes at a time when Juul Labs is under increasing scrutiny.

Here’s the statement from Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns:

We fully support FDA’s efforts to curb underage use of tobacco products, and we believe restricting access to flavors will negatively impact current adult smokers in their journey to switch from combustible cigarettes. Appropriate flavors help adult smokers who do not want to be reminded of the tobacco-taste of a cigarette. We encourage FDA to allow for further scientific exploration on the role flavors play in helping adult smokers transition away from combustible cigarettes.

It’s worth noting that, alongside flavors such as Mint, Cucumber, and Mango, Juul also markets a Virginia Tobacco-flavored pod.

This statement follows a proposed ruling by the FDA in March requesting data on the effectiveness of tobacco flavors to help adult smokers smoke less as well as the role they play in initiating non-smoking youth to use tobacco products. In April the FDA requested information from JUUL in particular.

And in May, the FDA and FTC issued 13 letters of warning for e-liquid products that “resemble kid-friendly food products, such as juice boxes, candy or cookies, some of them with cartoon-like imagery,” including e-liquids that resembled Sour Patch Kids, Pocky and Reddi-wip.

A concern to the FDA, as well as parents, is that even if children don’t use these products to start smoking, they can be easily confused with the products they imitate and be harmful if consumed. That’s not to mention the numerous reports saying use of Juul vaporizers by teens is on the rise.

To answer this point, Burns also noted that “[Juul] also remain[s] steadfast in our commitment to preventing underage use of vapor products.” The company switched its age limit to 21+ following state and federal legislation to make 21 the minimum purchasing age. It’s also changed its social media presence to better reflect former cigarette smokers, instead of using models to market the device.

But, despite these attempts to reorient its image as a tool to help smokers quit, between April and July of this year Juul has been on the receiving end of two lawsuits filed by users in California that claim the e-cigarette actually increased their nicotine addiction.

Here’s the statement in full:

Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, with more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year. Our mission is to eliminate cigarette smoking in the world by providing adult smokers with a true alternative to cigarettes. We believe flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch to vapor technology, which offers great potential.

We fully support FDA’s efforts to curb underage use of tobacco products, and we believe restricting access to flavors will negatively impact current adult smokers in their journey to switch from combustible cigarettes. Appropriate flavors help adult smokers who do not want to be reminded of the tobacco-taste of a cigarette. We encourage FDA to allow for further scientific exploration on the role flavors play in helping adult smokers transition away from combustible cigarettes.

As JUUL Labs works to support adult smokers in their efforts to switch, we also remain steadfast in our commitment to preventing underage use of vapor products. Both goals can be achieved through reasonable regulation to restrict advertising and naming of flavors such as cotton candy and gummy bear that are directed at children. We look forward to continuing to engage with FDA, policymakers, and community leaders on helping to reduce cigarette use while protecting young people.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/02/juul-labs-responds-to-fda-concerns-about-flavored-e-liquids/

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