Juul Company was slammed by Federal health officials for illegally advertising its nicotine pods as a safer alternative to cigarettes, threatening to fine or even seize the company‟s products if it doesn‟t correct its marketing.
A warning letter was sent to the CEO Kevin Burns by the Food and Drug Administration after reviewing testimony from two days of hearings on Juul in the U.S. House in July. “By selling or distributing them as modified risk tobacco products without an FDA order in effect that permits such sale or distribution,” the FDA investigators found that the company broke the law.
“Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does, in fact, pose less risk or is less harmful,” Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said in a statement.
Mr. Sharpless said, “JUUL has neglected the law, and in a manner that is concerning, it has made some of these statements in schools to our nation’s youth.”
Before marketing any tobacco product as less harmful than cigarettes, FDA rules require a company to receive regulatory approval. For reviewing, Juul‟s vaping devices have never been submitted to the FDA. The company has 15 days to respond to the agency.
The FDA has additionally requested more information about the company’s marketing practices in a letter separately sent. The agency is specifically looking for any scientific evidence of data that shows whether or not its use of words like „alternative‟ and „switch‟ has given people the idea that Juul‟s e-cigarettes are comparatively less harmful than combustible cigarettes.