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N.C. attorney general speaks about FDA order for JUUL products to be removed from store shelves

The company has been blamed for a surge in teen vaping over the last few years
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 11:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Regulators from the Food and Drug Administration have ordered JUUL, an American electronic cigarette company, to pull its electronic cigarettes from the U.S. market.

The FDA mandated Thursday that JUUL stop selling its vaping device and its tobacco and menthol flavored cartridges in the United States.

“Today’s action is further progress on the FDA’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “The agency has dedicated significant resources to review products from the companies that account for most of the U.S. market. We recognize these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.”

The FDA said consumers aren’t restricted from having or using JUUL’s products and retailers should contact JUUL with any questions about products in their inventory.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has been pushing hard to hold JUUL accountable for getting teenagers addicted to its product. The attorney general said North Carolina was the first state in the country to take JUUL to court.

“They marketed the product. They sold the product in ways that spiked teen nicotine use and teen addiction in levels we hadn’t seen in nearly 25 years,” said Stein in a Zoom interview with WBTV.

He said he appreciates what the FDA is doing but believes more needs to be done to control what other e-cig companies are producing and selling.

“It’s really imperative that the FDA limit the amount of nicotine so it’s not as addictive, they get rid of the flavors which attract kids and they do not market anywhere where kids can get access to them,” explained Stein.

Joe Murillo, chief regulatory officer at JUUL Labs, released the following statement in response to the FDA’s announcement Thursday:

We respectfully disagree with the FDA’s findings and decision and continue to believe we have provided sufficient information and data based on high-quality research to address all issues raised by the agency.

In our applications, which we submitted over two years ago, we believe that we appropriately characterized the toxicological profile of JUUL products, including comparisons to combustible cigarettes and other vapor products, and believe this data, along with the totality of the evidence, meets the statutory standard of being “appropriate for the protection of the public health.”

We intend to seek a stay and are exploring all of our options under the FDA’s regulations and the law, including appealing the decision and engaging with our regulator. We remain committed to doing all in our power to continue serving the millions of American adult smokers who have successfully used our products to transition away from combustible cigarettes, which remain available on market shelves nationwide.

Vaden Hill, an e-cig user in Charlotte, said he thinks it’s unfair that JUUL is being forced to completely remove it’s products from store shelves.

“I understand the purpose of trying to limit the purchase and use of tobacco products, vape products by underage or minors, but at the same time I don’t think you should eliminate the liberties of adults like myself because of that,” said Hill.

Kim Bayha, a tobacco prevention and control supervisor with the Mecklenburg County Department of Public Health, is trying to educate the public about the e-cig and vape products currently on the market.

“We encourage you to talk to young people and to learn what these products look like and also to get involved in the advocacy of encouraging the FDA to take the action that they have the authority to take to remove these products from the market,” said Bayha.

She provided resources for teenagers who are looking to stop using e-cigs and vapes. Anyone interested in utilizing the services can text “ditchvape” to 88709 or “vapefreenc” to 873373.

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