No decision from FDA on whether Juul products have health benefits

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Food and Drug Administration is taking nearly 1 million e-cigarette products off the shelves. It also missed a major deadline Thursday that would have determined the fate of major companies in the vaping industry like Juul.

A year after a federal judge ordered the FDA to determine if millions of e-cigarette products are safe enough to remain on the market, they say they need more time.

The extension is good news for mega companies like Juul who take up the lions share of the industry, but due to lack of sufficient data, dozens of smaller vendors weren’t so lucky.

The FDA announced it’s taking nearly 1 million flavored e-cigarette products off shelves because there’s not enough proof the health benefits for adults outweighed harmful impacts to kids.

Erika Sward with the American Lung Association says the FDA’s actions are key to ending the teen vaping epidemic.

“The American Lung Association is very encouraged,” Sward said. “It’s a long time coming and we want to make sure that kids are being protected from all tobacco products.”

The fate of big retailers like Juul remain unresolved. The FDA says it needs more time to evaluate their flavored products.

Amanda Wheeler with the American Vapor Manufacturers says the FDA is playing favorites.

“It’s very disappointing,” Wheeler said. “Basically the situation is such that the products that are allowed to be on the market right now are the big tobacco vapor products.”

She said the FDA decisions puts hundreds of small vendors out of business.

“People that opened small local business to help other smokers in their community get off of cigarettes, now those people are being told that decade of work amounts to nothing,” Wheeler said.

But Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., says young people need to be the priority.

“It’s all about choice but when it comes to our young people their parents need to be reassured, safety is paramount as far as I’m concerned,” Bilirakis said.

The FDA says it’s processed 90% of applications but will work quickly on those that remain. It says companies that do not remove their products as instructed could face enforcement action.

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