In an action that many thought was long overdue, the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of Juul e-cigarettes in the United States. However, the ban stayed in place for exactly one day before a federal court temporarily reversed it while it reviewed Juul’s legal challenge.
E-Cigarettes Have Been Blamed for Thousands of Injuries
In 2019, there was an epidemic of serious injuries that were associated with the use of ecigarettes. Juul claimed that its products were a safer alternative to cigarettes because they did not have many of the harmful chemicals that users inhaled from burning tobacco. However,
users still suffered the following injuries from the product:
● Lung injuries
● Battery explosion injuries
The main associated injury was an acute and sudden respiratory illness that killed dozens of people and left others maimed for life. The tobacco industry had invested billions of dollars in Juul as part of its attempt to still profit off a post-cigarette world. The product that they were
pushing now was every bit as dangerous, even if it did not cause lung cancer.
The FDA Required Juul to Apply for Approval and Denied the Application
Juul submitted an application to the FDA for approval back in 2020. At the time, the FDA had required all companies selling these products to apply for approval. The FDA has already approved nearly two dozen brands.
The company claims that it provided the agency with 125,000 pages of documentation about the safety of the product. However, quantity is no substitute for quality. No amount of pages can conclusively prove that Juul’s product is safe in the face of the large number of injuries and
deathsThe FDA Bans Juul and a Federal Court Stays the ban.
The FDA has the power to remove products from the market
The FDA has the power to remove products from the market through a marketing denial order. The company filed a premarket tobacco product application. After reviewing the application, the FDA found that there was insufficient evidence about the toxicological profile of the products. In other words, the FDA found that Juul could not prove that its products were safe and would not harm public health.
The FDA explained that its decision was not taken because of an imminent danger to public health associated with Juul. However, the agency said that it had received conflicting safety data about the toxicological risks. The FDA had already ordered Juul to stop selling flavored nicotine pods because of its concern that they were marketed toward underage users. Now, the agency has taken the further step of banning Juul products completely.
The FDA Should Have Acted Far Sooner
There are some concerns that the FDA’s actions are too little too late. The vaping industry has proven to be adaptive and innovative in getting its users hooked and addicted. Many users had already switched from Juul to newer products, and the e-cigarette industry is seemingly here to
stay. However, the FDA’s ban of Juul will likely send a message to younger users that ecigarettes are not safe. Although the ban should have happened years ago, it is still a momentous step because it shows that the federal government is willing to act. Juul’s sales have dropped, and many stores have already stopped carrying their products.
Still, youths have switched to a disposable vape product that is technically not subject to the ban on flavored products. These single-use products are often available for less than $10. As soon as the federal government acts against one product maker, new products spring up, either using new technology or relying on a loophole in the ban. Teenage users are more likely to switch from product to product depending on what is available to them. Social media marketing manages to successfully target teens and get their attention.
This suggests that the FDA must take even stronger actions against the e-cigarette industry. However, the agency often faces hostility in federal courts, especially among judges who are naturally hostile to any type of federal government regulations. Some states have already
imposed their own bans on vaping and the sale of products.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals Is Reviewing the Ban
It did not take long for a federal court to act after the ban. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals (the circuit that routinely reviews regulatory actions) issued a temporary stay of the ban while it reviewed the FDA’s action. This does not mean that the federal court will overturn the ban, but it will take a close look. A federal court will only issue an injunction when the appellant has some chance of success in their case. The federal court will rule on the appeal relatively quickly. In the meantime, users can still buy Juul products.
In Juul’s filing, the company claims that the FDA cannot logically claim that its products present a critical danger because it did not ban them entirely during the two years that the agency was reviewing Juul’s application. Juul also claims that the FDA denied only its product while
approving other similar products.
No matter how the e-cigarette industry spins it, vaping is proving every bit as dangerous as cigarette smoking. Traditional cigarettes sicken users over time, while e-cigarettes have more intense and immediate health risks. One of the major risks is that users can customize and
tamper with products, changing the specs and nicotine content. Many of these products arecounterfeit and not even regulated at all.
You Can File a Lawsuit if You Have Been Injured by E-Cigarettes
Currently, there are thousands of lawsuits pending against Juul as a result of injuries suffered during the vaping epidemic. Injured users claim that Juul sold a defective product that caused a severe and mysterious lung ailment. At this point, there are nearly 4,000 lawsuits pending
against the company in federal court in California. Even with the pending ban, you can still file a lawsuit against Juul if you have suffered an injury from using this product or any type of electronic nicotine product. You should consult with a product liability lawyer to explore the
possibility of filing your own case against the maker of the e-cigarette product that injured you.