What did JUUL do wrong?
JUUL Labs Inc. – which is 35% owned by Big Tobacco company Altria, the makers of Marlboro – has been implicated in multiple issues. The first one, which is the base for many of the harsh allegations against them, is their illegal marketing to minors.
JUUL’s CEO Kevin Burns attended a 2-day hearing in our nation’s capital titled “Examining JUUL’s role in the Youth Nicotine Epidemic” on July 24-25, 2019. The central points of this hearing with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Economic and Consumer Policy subcommittee were:
- Their illegal marketing targeted at minors
- Their unverified claims that their products are a safer alternative to cigarettes
- That JUUL is a cessation program that helps you quit smoking
Doesn’t JUUL Help people quit smoking?
No, JUUL is not a smoking-cessation device or program. This is easy to observe because, unlike nicotine patches and nicotine gum, JUUL products don’t gradually lower in nicotine amounts. JUUL pods actually contain the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes!
Their nicotine levels were so high that they were not originally allowed to sell in Europe until they modified their 5% formula to a 3% formula.
JUUL wasn’t even designed as a product to help people quit smoking. As research and development engineer Ari Atkins said before the product’s 2015 launch, “we don’t think a lot about addiction here because we’re not trying to design a cessation product at all.”
According to Stanton Glantz, the Director for the Center for Tobacco Research Control & Education at UCSF, JUUL Labs Inc., has broken the law by making unauthorized cessation and therapeutic claims.
“All these ads are making illegal therapeutic (they can help users quit smoking) and modified risk claims (they are healthier) without the legally-required approvals from FDA” says Glantz.
Aren’t JUUL Pods Safer than Cigarettes?
After the two-day hearing in July 2019, the FDA sent a warning letter to JUUL stating that the company broke the law “by selling or distributing them as modified risk tobacco products without an FDA order in effect that permits such sale or distribution.”
FDA rules require a company to receive regulatory approval before marketing any tobacco product as less harmful than cigarettes. JUUL’s vaping devices have never been submitted to the FDA for review before that letter was sent in September 9, 2019.
Unfortunately, this has not stopped JUUL from making false claims to children about how safe JUUL is. Testimony by a student revealed that a JUUL representative came to his high school claiming that JUUL was “much safer than cigarettes” and that the “FDA was about to come out and say it was 99% safer than cigarettes.”
“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.
How Can Douglas & London Help?
We’ve all seen this with big tobacco before. With Altria – the owners of Marlboro makers, Phillip Morris – having billions of dollars invested in JUUL, we’re seeing big tobacco do this now! According to the FDA, JUUL has broken the law and is currently under criminal investigations by other government agencies.
If you or a loved one are addicted to JUUL since you were a minor, you may be eligible to compensation. Douglas & London has experience fighting big tobacco and other corporations. Contact us on our website or call us at (212) 566-7500 for a free case evaluation. There is no out of pocket costs and you don’t pay unless we win.