The Food and Drug Administration is set to ban Juul e-cigarettes from being sold in the United States, according to a report.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the FDA could announce the decision as soon as Wednesday.
The agency had been investigating Juul for the past two years while the company sought approval to continue selling its nicotine pods.
Juul landed in hot water some four years ago when its flavored e-cigarettes, which were touted at the time as a carcinogen-free and healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, were being blamed for a surge in youth vaping.
Altria The company behind the product tried to appease federal regulators by banning their sweet and fruit-flavored products.
Since its e-cigs and other similar vaping products came to market, scores of people have died and thousands have been hospitalized nationwide for various lung ailments that medical and health officials blame on vaping.
Introduced in 2015, Juul e-cigarettes have skyrocketed in popularity among youth across the United States, leading to what public health officials have called a youth e-cigarette “epidemic.”
From 2017 to 2019, e-cigarette use among high school students rose by 135 percent. In 2019, more than 5.3 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes – an alarming increase of nearly 3.2 million students in two years.
By 2018, the company was valued at $15 billion. That same year, it had a market share of 75%.
In December 2018, Altria, one of the world’s largest cigarette manufacturers and the maker of popular brands including Marlboro, paid $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in Juul, which was generating an annual revenue of around $2 billion.
Since then, Juul has lost considerable market share as lawsuits have piled up and more Americans have been made aware of the dangers of vaping.
Last year, Juul agreed to pay $40 million to the state of North Carolina after its attorney general sued the e-cigarette maker over the exploding rates of teen vaping.
Several states have filed their own lawsuits against Juul. A group of 39 state attorneys general have been cooperatively investigating the company’s marketing and products since February 2020.
Juul products are mostly sold in the US, though they are also available in Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and the Philippines.
The company’s removal from the US clears the way for Reynolds’s Vuse brand to dominate the marketplace.
It is unclear if the FDA plans to move against other e-cigarette brands.
The FDA is also expected to move aggressively against traditional cigarette makers.
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