Juul Labs, the manufacturer of Juul electronic cigarettes, have been under scrutiny by the FDA and Congress regarding why Juul products are so popular among teens and the youth. The FDA went on to describe teen vaping as an “epidemic” and the agency threatened to ban the sale of any flavored e-cigarette juice or product which is seen as appealing to teens and the youth. Juul Labs has responded by cooperating with the regulator as well as increasing its expenditure on lobbying by 167 percent in the third quarter of this year when that spending is compared to what was spent in the second quarter of this year. According to Juul’s declaration, it spent $560,000 on lobbying while the second quarter cost for lobbying was just $210,000. The e-cig maker appears to be in a fight for its very life. It will be interesting to look back and judge whether the lobbying had any effect in softening the rate at which regulators clamped down on different e-cig manufacturers.
The documents relate to the marketing and sales practices of the company. The regulator is trying to understand why different electronic cigarette products, especially Juul products, are so appealing to teens. Juul currently commands about 72% of the electronic cigarette market in the U.S. Kevin Burns, the CEO of Juul Labs, revealed that they are cooperating fully with the regulator in order to be part of the solution to what the FDA calls an epidemic of teen vaping. It is not yet clear which other e-cigarette makers will be the subject of similar seizures.
The FDA announced last week that it had seized about 1,000 pages of documents from Juul Labs during a surprise inspection. The documents relate to the marketing and sales practices of the company. The regulator is trying to understand why different electronic cigarette products, especially Juul products, are so appealing to teens. Juul currently commands about 72% of the electronic cigarette market in the U.S. Kevin Burns, the CEO of Juul Labs, revealed that they are cooperating fully with the regulator in order to be part of the solution to what the FDA calls an epidemic of teen vaping. It is not yet clear which other e-cigarette makers will be the subject of similar seizures. Do you think the action taken by the FDA will help the regulator to unearth why “Juuling” has become such a hit among teens?
Cleveland County has become the first jurisdiction in North Carolina to update its tobacco-free signs in schools to include e-cigarettes. The signage is in line with state law which includes electronic cigarettes among the tobacco products banned on school grounds or premises. The Cleveland County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition partnered with the public schools to put up those signs. North Carolina passed a law to make schools tobacco-free zones about 10 years ago and the policy has been rewarded with a 50% drop in cigarette smoking among high schoolers since that law was passed. The inclusion of e-cigs in the signage is intended to make it clear that vaping is also illegal on school campuses. Should this approach be borrowed by school districts in other states where “juuling” has become a popular activity? The results of this new campaign in Cleveland County will guide other school districts on the effectiveness of this approach.
Producers and retailers of electronic cigarette products in Switzerland have voluntarily agreed to stop selling e-cigs to minors even if no law exists in the country banning such sales. The code of conduct agreed to by a consortium of large retailers and e-cig makers took effect on October 1, 2018. This decision was welcomed by the regulator (Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office) under whose docket the electronic cigarette industry lies. Laws are currently being drafted to regulate the electronic cigarette industry on various aspects, such as who should or shouldn’t be allowed to buy the products. The voluntary ban comes after the Federal Administrative Court in Switzerland overturned the government ban of e-cig sales in the country. The court argued that those products are allowed in the EU, so the government had no right to ban them in an EU member state. The court’s ruling was issued in April. It remains to be seen what specific measures the electronic cigarette manufacturers and retailers will enforce in order to prevent teens from buying their products.
The FDA started implementing its “The Real Cost” campaign in 2014 in order to educate teens about the dangers of tobacco use. That campaign has now been expanded to include messages to teens about the dangers of vaping electronic cigarettes. Social media as well as ads placed in high school bathrooms will be used to get these messages to as many teens as possible. The FDA is particularly concerned by “an epidemic” of vaping among teens, with Juul pods as the most popular product among underage vapers. The education campaign comes at a time when the regulator is threatening “historic” action against several e-cig manufacturers that are thought to target teens with their product designs and marketing messages. Anyone with useful suggestions that can help to put an end to underage access to electronic cigarettes and other addictive substances should share that information so that teens can be saved from the risks associated with these products.
The authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are reviewing available information about the potential benefits of novel tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, with a view to lifting the ban on those products in case the review concludes that they will bring public health benefits to the smokers in the country. ESMA (Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology) is the government consumer watchdog charged with the responsibility of conducting that data review. Industry players like Philip Morris International have welcomed the review saying that they are willing to work with the authorities in order to create conditions that avail needed products without creating any additional risks. Will the UAE think carefully about the challenges that the U.S. FDA is facing in trying to curb teen vaping as it ponders whether to open its borders to electronic cigarettes?
Scotland plans to offer prison inmates free electronic cigarettes starting in November 2018 for two months. Thereafter, inmates will buy their own e-cigs at subsidized rates until April next year. Prisoners who wish to continue vaping after April 2019 will buy their devices at the normal market rates. The Scottish government has taken this rare step in order to enable prisoners to transition to vaping once smoking is banned in all prisons at the end of November this year. The ban brings Scotland in line with the UK’s decision to ban smoking in all public places, including prisons. Millions die each year due to secondhand smoke, so prisons are going to be smoke-free zones for public health reasons. What lessons can the correctional facilities in the US learn from the Scottish example? Read the entire article and learn why Scotland chose a different approach to enforce the ban on smoking in prisons after observing what transpired in England and Wales.
This needs a bit of a rewrite
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release in which it revealed that all the companies which had been warned to stop selling e-liquids that were packaged in a way that made them look like kid-friendly consumer products, such as candy. It is expected that the products which are no longer on the shelves of vape shops may return in different packaging that complies with all the requirements of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the FDA. The agency reiterated its commitment to continue taking any measures necessary to ensure that tobacco products don’t get into the hands of minors. Do you think the measures taken by the FDA to prevent youth from accessing tobacco products and ENDS will yield the desired results in the long term?
What is in a name? A lot, if the unending debate about how electronic cigarettes should be viewed is considered. The infamous “deeming rule” which saw the FDA regard e-cigarettes as tobacco products has been challenged by various pro-vaping parties for years. Now, Dr. Marcus Munafo, the powerful editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research, has written stating that any researcher who wishes to have his or her work published in the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research should refrain from using the label “tobacco products” when referring to electronic cigarettes. Dr. Munafo feels that the scientific and academic communities should no longer take part in perpetuating misleading name since electronic cigarettes don’t contain any tobacco. Calling them tobacco products misleads the public and entrenches a “patently incorrect” description. Read his entire submission and learn why he seems to disagree with Shakespeare’s famous line that “What is in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet”.