Federal health officials slammed vaping company Juul on Monday for illegally marketing it nicotine pods as less harmful than cigarettes, threatening to fine or even seize the company’s products if it doesn’t correct its advertising.
The Food and Drug Administration sent the warning letter after reviewing testimony from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Economic and Consumer Policy subcommittee’s investigation into Juul and found the company broke the law “by selling or distributing them as modified risk tobacco products without an FDA order in effect that permits such sale or distribution.”
“Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful,” Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless said in a statement.
“JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth,” Sharpless said.
In order to market a tobacco product as less harmful than cigarettes, companies must receive clearance from the FDA. Juul did not get that.
Juul has 15 days to respond to the letter. The company did not immediately have comment.