The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to Kevin Burns, CEO of JUUL, criticizing the company for marketing their e-cigarettes as “much safer than cigarettes” without FDA approval. FDA approval requires scientific evidence that the JUUL nicotine pods are less dangerous than cigarettes. The FDA can fine the company or seize assets if JUUL does not change its marketing tactics.
CDC Warning on Vaping
This admonition comes just a week after the Center for Disease Control (CDC) cautioned the public against using vaping products. The CDC also announced that it is working with state health officials and the FDA to investigate several deaths and 450 possible cases of lung-related illnesses that may be related to vaping.
Respiratory Illnesses Appear to Be Linked to E-Cigarettes
The lung illnesses are predominantly occurring in young people – largely in their teens or twenties – who admit to vaping nicotine liquid or THC oil (a marijuana compound). The symptoms include some of the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest Pain
Many patients end up hospitalized with acute respiratory distress syndrome and require a ventilator to help them breathe. Some medical professionals believe that many of these cases are lipoid pneumonia. Lipoid pneumonia occurs when lipids, or fatty acids, enter the lungs. Some e-cigarettes utilize oils such as vegetable glycerin. Some THC products utilize a vitamin E-derived oil. Many of the respiratory illnesses are thought to be “popcorn lung”, or bronchiolitis obliterans. This is thought to be caused by diacetyl, which is a flavoring often used in e-cigarettes. The diacetyl can scar bronchioles and impair air movement in the lungs. The CDC continues to work to determine the cause of the lung illnesses, but the cases appear to be related to vaping.
Staggering Increases in E-Cigarette Use Among U.S. Teens
Recent data shows that there are over 3 million U.S. high school students using e-cigarettes, which is a 78% increase in just one year. With such alarming statistics, there is an even greater urgency driving the CDC investigation. These statistics are also mandating that the FDA get more involved in regulating the marketing practices of e-cigarette vendors, such as JUUL, one of the most popular brands among teenagers. FDA commissioner Ned Sharpless sent a second letter to JUUL asking for information on how it has marketed devices to children, how the design and flavored pods appeal to a youthful market, and why devices contain such high levels of addictive nicotine. One JUUL pod contains about the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
JUUL has 15 days to respond to the FDAs inquiries.
President Plans a Ban
In recent news, the Trump administration is preparing to ban flavored e-cigarettes as federal health officials call for restrictions to combat an outbreak of a mysterious lung disease that has sickened hundreds and killed at least six people, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. This will affect the use of e-cigarette and vaping devices. The dangers of vaping have entered public knowledge, and it will be interesting to see the legal future of these devices.
JUUL is also facing a growing number of lawsuits over its vaping devices. They have aggressively marketed their devices as a safer alternative to cigarettes, but these e-cigarettes are very addictive and are risking the health of millions of Americans. Please call Brett to help you hold corporations accountable for the products that they manufacture and market to young people.
If you or a loved one was harmed by JUUL e-cigarettes, please contact usat the law offices of Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC today by calling (502) 242-8877. Consultations are free.