Economy

Vape warning: Read FDA letter to Juul CEO Kevin Burns

Vape warning: Read FDA letter to Juul CEO Kevin Burns

Federal health authorities blasted vaping giant Juul Labs Inc. on Monday, accusing it of illegally pitching its electronic cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking, and ordered the company to stop making unproved claims about its products.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a stern warning letter to the company Monday, flagging various claims by Juul, including that its products are "much safer than cigarettes". According an FDA announcement, The agency sent the letter to express concern and request more information about several issues raised in a recent Congressional hearing regarding JUUL's outreach and marketing practices, including those targeted at students, tribes, health insurers and employers.

The FDA warning comes after the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held hearings on Juul's role in the youth nicotine epidemic in July. Two high school students also testified saying a representative from the company held a presentation telling the students vaping was "totally safe".

The agency requested documents related to marketing, including scientific evidence and data such as consumer perception studies "related to whether these statements and representations explicitly or implicitly convey that JUUL products pose less risk, are less harmful, present reduced exposure, are safer than other tobacco products or that the products are smoking cessation products".

Juul says it discontinued its school programs last September. But there is virtually no research on the long-term effects of vaping.

More news: Samsung: Galaxy Fold has 'hundreds of apps', including these top Android choices

Recently, San Francisco issued a ban on all non-FDA approved e-cigarette products, MI issued a ban on e-cigarettes in general and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a state-wide ban on all flavored e-cigarette products today. In a statement emailed to Ars, a Juul spokesperson said only, "We are reviewing the [FDA's] letters and will fully cooperate".

The letter touted Juul's ability "to heat nicotine liquid and deliver smokers the satisfaction that they want without the combustion and the harm associated with it".

In addition, the FDA has been looking into whether e-cigarettes are linked to seizures after receiving initial reports from Juul users. The letter cites congressional testimony that Juul's advertising "saturated social media channels frequented by underage teens" and "used influencers and discount coupons to attract new customers".

The FDA also quotes from a "Letter from the CEO" that appeared both on Juul's website and in an email response to a parent's complaint about her child being sold Juul products.

"This is a kids' toy, make no mistake about it, no matter what Juul tells you", he said. Juul has 15 business days to respond with a plan for fixing the problems. But it said the company apparently provided Congress more documents than it gave the FDA.