In response to a spate of recent deaths associated with e-cigarette use, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took action this week to discourage underage vaping, threatening to remove flavored e-cigarettes from stores. Because flavored products account for a significant portion of the e-cigarette market, a federal ban on the sale of these products would have a significant impact on youth tobacco use, as well as on revenue for e-cigarette companies.
The leading e-cigarette company, Juul, has responded to regulatory and media pressure by mounting a public relations campaign that emphasizes how their products can help replace a more harmful smoking habit. But the FDA sent a warning letter this week telling Juul to stop making unsubstantiated claims about the safety and health benefits of their e-cigarettes.
Quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle article about Juul’s carefully crafted marketing strategy, ChangeLab Solutions attorney Derek Carr suggested that “even if they aren’t violating the letter of the law, they are certainly circumventing the spirit of it.”