E-cigarette maker, Juul, might be in hot water. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized thousands of pages in documentation from the company during a surprise inspection.
The FDA has been investigating the company for the past year as a growing number of teens have begun to use the e-cigarette. Claims that Juul and other e-cigarettes are marketing to children might make the industry blow up in smoke.
Currently, Juul controls around 70% of the e-cigarette market, making them a priority among retailers. In the recent surprise inspection, the FDA took thousands of pages regarding their marketing strategy.
This comes after the FDA ordered e-cig manufacturers to make plans that steer away from youth marketing.
The commissioner for the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, is calling e-cig use among teens an "epidemic."
"I think people should interpret the fact that I and others have made such a dramatic shift from our prior position with respect to these products as representing the fact that we have seen information that is deeply disturbing and startling in terms of the rapid rise of youth use over a short period of time," claimed Gottlieb in an interview back in September.
Many believe that the growing use among teens and adolescents is due to the appealing flavors offered by e-cigs.
Google receives an average of 100 billion searches each month, and many of those search results feature prominent advertisements. Currently, Google will not allow any cigarette or tobacco companies, including JUUL, to advertise on its powerful search engine. On top of that, the FDA is considering banning the online sale of popular e-cigarettes as use among children grows.
The sales of Juul grew by around 14 million between 2016 and 2017 alone. In 2016, Juul sold 2.2 million devices. In 2017? 16.2 million.
"The new and highly disturbing data we have on youth use demonstrates plainly that e-cigarettes are creating an epidemic of regular nicotine use among teens. It is vital that we take action to understand and address the particular appeal of, and ease of access to, these products among kids," claimed the FDA.
E-cigarettes have become a popular smoking alternative for adults, and it's plainly grown in popularity among teens. The carcinogens in tobacco and cigarette filters can cause cancer for smokers and those around them. It's also known to contribute to heart disease, lung damage, yellow teeth, and respiratory problems, and it can worsen asthma and allergy symptoms. An estimated 6.1 children and 20 million adults suffer from seasonal allergies in the U.S. alone, and even second-hand smoke can increase the risk of these health problems.
E-cigarettes became attractive for smokers who wanted to avoid the hazards associated with smoking. In addition to the widely known health hazards, 32% of people have concern for the appearance of their
E-cigarettes are popular in part because they are seen as less deadly and harmful than traditional tobacco products. However, e-cigarettes and vapes pose health risks as well.
Nicotine is known to hinder brain development in adolescents and cause addiction. One Juul pod can contain as much nicotine as twenty cigarettes.
Additionally, the flavored liquids used to deliver the nicotine use propylene glycol, an ingredient that can cause irritation when inhaled. Additionally, the long-term effects of vaping are unknown since the product is so new.
The problem is that these vapes and e-cigs aren't federally regulated, meaning any number of ingredients can be used in the final product. Recent studies show vaping is also a gateway drug for teens to try cigarettes as well.
The number of teens who vape has grown tenfold between 2011 and 2017, and those are just the ones who have reported vaping use to researchers.
The FDA will search Juul's documents to ensure the company is in compliance.