The US health agency (FDA) on Thursday banned the sale in the United States of all electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, of the Juul Laabs brand, effective immediately, according to a press release.
The FDA found that the start-up, which enjoyed phenomenal success in the late 2010s with its USB-shaped vapes and nicotine refills flavoured, had not demonstrated that the marketing of its products was “appropriate for the protection of public health”.
Following this decision, “the company must stop selling and distributing” the products for which it currently has authorization. Those already in stores “must be removed” from sale.
The agency has been tasked with reviewing vaping products to ensure that the benefit adults, especially to help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes, outweighed the risks posed to younger people.
It had already banned in 2020 the marketing of refillable vapers, of the Juul type, with flavored tastes, only authorizing tobacco and menthol flavors. , but also gave the green light to certain products presented by the companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Logic or Njoy.
The ban announced Thursday demonstrates the FDA's commitment “to ensuring that all e-cigarettes and other products that deliver nicotine through an electronic device currently on the market meet public health standards,” the boss said. of the agency, Robert Califf, in the press release.
The FDA does not consider that Juul's products present an “immediate risk”, but judges that the company has not provided enough data to be able to assess “the potential toxicological risks”.
The San Francisco-based start-up has been accused of being a major contributor to the surge in teen vaping with advertisements and marketing operations targeting high school students in particular.
Faced with pressure from the authorities, Juul Labs had already suspended sales of flavored refills, popular with young people, in 2019 and had undertaken to review its marketing strategy.
The company had not immediately reacted to a request from AFP.
The American tobacco company Altria, which owns 35% of the shares of Juul Labs, had fallen by more than 9% on Wednesday after initial information from press on an impending FDA decision.
The company made a big bet on Juul Labs in 2018, investing more than $12 billion in a deal valuing it at $38 billion. She then wanted to diversify her business, as sales of classic cigarettes have long been declining in the United States.
But in the face of new restrictions from health authorities and costly legal disputes, the value of Juul Labs has since melted. Altria estimates that by the end of 2021, the start-up was only worth around $5 billion.