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U.S. FDA Decision on JUUL Signals Overdue Momentum On Tobacco Epidemic

Statement from Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Vital Strategies

June 23, 2022 (New York) – Vital Strategies welcomes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to deny JUUL Labs Inc. access to American consumers –particularly youth – on the grounds that JUUL failed to meet burden of proof for public health benefit. Today’s order requires JUUL to immediately stop selling and distributing JUUL pods, including Virginia tobacco flavored and menthol flavored pods. Any JUUL products currently on the market must be removed.

“JUUL’s exploitation of the American market caused significant damage, setting back years of tobacco control efforts,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President of Policy Advocacy and Communication. “JUUL’s aggressive marketing to kids entrenched the brand among American youth, and supercharged e-cigarette use among American teens. While FDA’s decision removes one brand of e-cigarette products from the market, FDA and legislators need to act across the entire class of products to protect youth.”

“Thousands of other e-cigarette products are being used by American teens, including products that have secured FDA approval. For example, British American Tobacco’s Vuse is the third most popular e-cigarette brand among young people in the U.S. Like JUUL’s marketing blitz, this is likely linked to the company’s cynical, multimillion-dollar global marketing, including sponsorships for F1 racing, music festivals and social media influencers. Without tighter regulation, JUUL’s exit from the market may simply mean Vuse or others will take its place among youth. FDA and legislatures should take decisive action now to protect youth and nicotine-naïve users such as prohibiting flavors and restricting marketing, access and sales.

Given the lethargy of previous Administrations on this topic, FDA’s decisions on JUUL, proposals to curtail nicotine levels in cigarettes and to ban menthol are a welcome signal that the 480,000 Americans deaths each year from tobacco are receiving well-deserved urgency. We believe it could go further, and that this energy should be matched in Congress and Statehouses across the nation, towards ending cigarettes as a mass consumer product.”

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

Media Contact

Ally Davis: adavis@vitalstrategies.org