Juul® is under investigation and being accused by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of deceptive marketing practices for presenting its vaping products as safer than conventional cigarettes. Two letters from the FDA have been sent to Juul’s® CEO. The first letter of warning gives Juul® a 15-day deadline to submit a plan to correct its violations of federal law. The second requested additional documents related to July’s congressional hearing about whether Juul® targeted schools or youth camps. This FDA letter implies Juul® presented vaping at a high school as safe, even stating it is “99% safer than cigarettes.” Witnesses under testimony at a House subcommittee hearing said this claim was made in their high school assembly after teachers had left the room. The witnesses also said that the Juul® representative put their products on display for the teens and told them that the FDA would approve the products “any day.” In Juul’s® early ads, teenagers and young adults looking to be in their early twenties were displayed as Juul® users with trendy photos boasting colors and activities that appeal to today’s teenagers and young adults. This advertising saturated social media channels frequented by underage teens and used social media influencers and discount coupons to lure new customers. Juul® used sweet flavors like fruit, mango and creme brulee that would entice children.
Not only are recent studies revealing that nicotine use has increased by 75% since 2017 due to vaping after decades of success in reducing youth tobacco use, but they are also revealing that vaping is in fact very dangerous. One Juul® pod contains as much or more nicotine as one pack of cigarettes and can be consumed in one sitting, exposing the user to unsafe levels of nicotine that can have immediate and long-term health consequences. Vaping-associated lung disease is believed to have killed at least seven people and sickened hundreds.