The U.S. government is trying to ban Juul e-cigarettes. Here’s why

Published 2022-06-28 11:21

No ban planned in Canada yet


The biggest e-cigarette company in the United States might soon have to stop selling their products.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Juul to stop selling its popular vaping devices and tobacco- and menthol-flavoured cartridges.

The FDA is a U.S. government agency that decides which products like food or drugs are safe for consumption. The agency says that Juul hasn’t provided enough scientific evidence that their products aren’t harmful to public health.

Juul appealed the FDA’s ban, which allows the company to continue selling products while the court reviews the appeal and decides how to move forward.

The multibillion-dollar vaping industry has been accused of marketing to middle school and high school students. In its decision last week, the FDA said companies like Juul have “played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.”

Why Juul’s products are at risk of being banned

In the United States, e-cigarette companies must prove that their products benefit public health by releasing scientific studies.

An e-cigarette is made by heating an addictive nicotine solution into a vapour that’s inhaled, bypassing many of the toxic chemicals produced by burning tobacco. (Image credit: Marshall Ritzel/The Associated Press)

This means, according to the FDA, that they must prove how their products help adult smokers quit smoking traditional cigarettes and that teens aren’t likely to become addicted to them.

The FDA said Juul’s application didn’t have enough scientific data to show the potential health risks of consuming its products.

It also said Juul’s products may have created a rise in teen vaping.

Juul disagreed, stating that the FDA denied its application while approving applications by other e-cigarette competitors.

Are Juul’s products harmful for teenagers?

According to the Health Canada website, "the potential long-term health effects of vaping remain unknown.”

Still, Juul e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive.

In 2019, Juul got rid of its fruit and dessert flavours following criticism after they became popular with middle and high school students. (Image credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

A 2020 Statistics Canada survey found that 14 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 19 had vaped in the past 30 days.

That’s up from six per cent in the same month in 2017.

Robert Schwartz, a senior scientist at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said e-cigarettes can be a good tool to help adults quit smoking.

Unfortunately, he said, young non-smokers can become addicted to them.

"We definitely are finding that young people who would not otherwise become cigarette smokers have started to use e-cigarettes and [that] they fairly quickly develop a dependence," Schwartz previously told CBC News.

Will Canada ban e-cigarettes next?

While banning the popular Juul products may affect the market, experts believe that it won’t have a huge impact on the industry.

Analysts who spoke with CBC News say that Juul’s market shares are already declining and there are a lot more e-cigarette companies ready to take its place.

For now, Health Canada has no plans to remove any vaping products from the Canadian market, they told CBC in an email.

But it has put new restrictions on vaping companies, including limits on how much they can advertise and the amount of nicotine they can put in their products.

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With files from The Associated Press and Benjamin Shingler/CBC.

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