September 10, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) – According to a CNBC.com news report, Federal health officials accused JUUL of illegally marketing their JuulPod nicotine pods as “safer than cigarettes.” On the company’s website, Juul.com, prominently placed at the top of the website is a “Refer a Smoker” link which reinforces the message that vaping products are safer than smoking. At approximately 5 EST, Juul’s website contained new, prominent “nicotine addiction” warnings on its home page and throughout its website. Federal health officials have threatened Juul with fines and seizure of the company’s inventory should the company fail to promptly correct its marketing materials and messaging.
The FDA sent Juul’s CEO Kevin Burns a warning letter soon after reviewing Mr. Burn’s testimony before the U.S. House back in July. According to the warning letter, Juul violated the law “by selling or distributing them as modified risk tobacco products without an FDA order in effect that permits such sale or distribution.”
Ned Sharpless, the FDA’s acting commissioner, stated that Juul violated the law by claiming their vaping products reduces health risks without submitting the required scientific evidence that substantiates those claims to government agencies. Mr. Sharpless also stated that Juul not only ignored the law, but the company marketed these statements at the nation’s youth. The FDA requires companies that market vaping products to apply for pre-approval from the FDA for marketing regarding any products that claim to be safer or less harmful that cigarettes. Mr. Sharpless stated that Juul never applied for FDA review of its marketing and nicotine pod products. Juul is required to respond to the FDA’s complaint within 15 days.
On September 9, 2019, the FDA sent Juul another letter requiring the company to provide additional details about its marketing practices. The FDA also stated that the agency is concerned with the words “switch” and “alternative” that are used in Juul’s marketing. The FDA believes that these words lead people to believe that Juul’s vape products are “less harmful than combustible cigarettes.” The FDA is also very concerned about how Juul marketed their products in high schools. Mr. Sharpless referred to testimony from a high school student who noted that a Juul representative visited their school and claimed Juul’s vape products were “much safer than cigarettes” and how the “FDA was about to come out and say it was 99% safer than cigarettes.”
Juul representative, Ted Kwong, stated that Juul is reviewing all of the letters and is cooperating with the federal agencies.
The FDA also complained that Juul’s newest advertising campaigns targeted smokers and pitched its “make the switch” message to encourage cigarette smokers to switch to Juul’s vape products as a safe and effective smoking cessation option. The advertisements feature adult smokers sharing their stories about how Juul vape devices helped them kick their smoking habit.
Another grave concern raised by the FDA is the highly addictive properties of Juul nicotine pods. Juul vape pods contain nicotine salts and are sold in various levels of nicotine concentrations. It is believed that nicotine salts and the marketing of “nicotine concentrations” make these nicotine vape pods highly addictive and quickly addict people to these nicotine products.
Regulators and politicians throughout the United States are worried about the growing use of Juul’s products amongst teenagers. The FDA seized over 1,000 pages during an unannounced inspection of Juul’s headquarters in San Francisco. Juul is currently under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission as well as numerous state attorney generals.
There have been several lawsuits filed throughout the United States including a Florida class action lawsuit that allege Juul marketed their products to minors and misrepresented their products to consumers.
Serious Lung Illnesses Linked to Vaping
Health officials are conducting an investigation of an outbreak of vape-released lung illnesses that have killed six people and have injured hundreds of vape users. The exact cause for the lung illness outbreak is unknown at this time. However, New York investigators have found high concentrations of vitamin E oil in certain cannabis oil vape products linked to a severe pulmonary illness. Health officials are recommending vape users to avoid all e-cigarettes or vaping products until the cause for these illnesses are found.
Do You Have a Case?
Vaping devices have been linked to serious lung injuries and harmful side effects such as: cancer, strokes, heart attacks, pneumonia, respiratory failure, popcorn lung and a host of other lung diseases. If you or someone you loved has suffered any of those adverse side effects after continual use of vaping devices, vape pens, JUUL, or e-cigarettes, please seek out emergency medical attention and then contact Parker Waichman LLP at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for your free case evaluation. You or your loved one may be entitled to recover significant monetary compensation for injures and other monetary damages.
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