FDA Orders Juul to Remove Its E-Cigarette Products Over Safety Concerns


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Key Takeaways

  • Juul, one of the most popular e-cigarette brands, was ordered by the FDA to remove all of its products from the U.S. market.
  • The FDA said the company failed to provide sufficient data on the potentially harmful chemicals leaching from the refill pods.
  • More than 2 million middle- and high-school students in the U.S. currently use e-cigarettes.

Teenagers and adults who are hooked on Juul’s compact e-cigarettes might have to search for alternatives.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday ordered Juul to remove all of its e-cigarette products from the U.S. market. It was one of the most sweeping actions the FDA has taken against vaping products in recent years.  

In its announcement, the agency said that Juul provided “insufficient and conflicting data” on potentially harmful chemicals leaching from the refill pods.

“Today’s action is further progress on the FDA’s commitment to ensuring that all e-cigarette and electronic nicotine delivery system products currently being marketed to consumers meet our public health standards,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD, said in a press release.

Regulators have blamed Juul for encouraging youth vaping with its marketing of the sleek USB-like device and flavored nicotine pods. In 2019, Juul stopped selling its sweet and fruity flavored pods and halted its marketing campaigns that were said to target young users.

Research has shown that Juul’s products contain high levels of nicotine—packing around 40 milligrams of nicotine in a pod, the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.

In a 2018 survey, some young users believed that pod-based e-cigarettes like Juul were less harmful than other products, but the high nicotine content can be extremely addictive. And studies have linked e-cigarette use to increased odds of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to the latest national survey on youth tobacco use, e-cigarette use among middle- and high-school students who reported current tobacco use had dropped from 20% in 2019 to 7.6% in 2021.

Still, more than 2 million U.S. youth currently use e-cigarettes. Among those who do use vaping products, about two in five report vaping frequently, suggesting a strong dependence on nicotine. Many students also cite feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed as reasons for using e-cigarettes.

The survey also showed that Puff Bar, a disposable e-cigarette that comes in a wide range of flavors, is now the most popular vaping brand among teenagers, followed by Vuse, SMOK, Juul, and Suorin.

The FDA has been making bold attempts to reduce nicotine use and addiction. Earlier this week, the agency said it plans to set a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products.

What This Means For You

The FDA hasn’t received clinical information to suggest an immediate risk associated with the use of Juul e-cigarettes. However, regulators are concerned that these products have harmful chemicals that are not yet well-researched.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Prochaska JJ, Vogel EA, Benowitz N. Nicotine delivery and cigarette equivalents from vaping a JUULpodTob Control. Published online March 23, 2021. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2020-056367

  2. McKelvey K, Baiocchi M, Halpern-Felsher B. Adolescents’ and young adults’ use and perceptions of pod-based electronic cigarettesJAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(6):e183535. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3535

  3. Wills TA, Soneji SS, Choi K, Jaspers I, Tam EK. E-cigarette use and respiratory disorders: an integrative review of converging evidence from epidemiological and laboratory studies. Eur Respir J. 2021;57(1):1901815. doi:10.1183/13993003.01815-2019

  4. Osei AD, Mirbolouk M, Orimoloye OA, et al. The association between e-cigarette use and asthma among never combustible cigarette smokers: behavioral risk factor surveillance system (BRFSS) 2016 & 2017. BMC Pulm Med. 2019;19(1):180. doi:10.1186/s12890-019-0950-3

By Daphne Lee
Daphne Lee is a senior news editor at Verywell Health.