Are Juul E-Cigarettes the New Big Tobacco?

Since launching in 2015, the flash drive-sized vaping device has transformed the market in the United States, where it now accounts for nearly 70 percent of tracked e-cigarette sales. The company is valued at $15 billion based on its most recent funding round, according to venture capital database Pitchbook Inc.

Crackdown in Sale to Minors by the FDA

In April 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to minors, particularly those developed by Juul Labs.

The Food and Drug Administration  declared that teenage use of electronic cigarettes has reached “an epidemic proportion,” and it put makers of the most popular devices on notice that they have just 60 days to prove they can keep their devices away from minors.

Federal law prohibits selling e-cigarettes to anyone under 18. In a briefing with reporters, the F.D.A. commissioner said that more than two million middle and high school students were regular users of e-cigarettes last year. Nicotine may disrupt the formation of circuits in the brain that control attention and learning,” said Dr. Rachel Boykan, a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and an executive member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ section on tobacco control. “And there is a higher risk of them subsequently becoming tobacco smokers.”

Some research suggests disturbing risks. A joint project between Duke and Yale’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, published this fall in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, found that when certain popular flavors are added to a common solvent in the vaping liquids, they produce chemicals that irritate airways and lungs. A 2016 study in the journal Chest said that smoking e-cigarettes had an effect on the heart and arteries which, while was not as pronounced as that of combustible cigarettes, was still distinctive.

We are looking at the possible link between addiction and the lack of warnings by Juul for this product.