Vaping has become one of the most popular ways to consume tobacco and marijuana. But, as with anything, with popularity comes clarity on potential risks. A “vape” or electronic cigarette is a device that heats a liquid to create a vapor you inhale. Types of vapes include pens, e-cigarettes (like Juul), and hookahs. While vaping is claimed to be a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, there are still plenty of health risks involved. Below is more on the 2022 Juul ban and why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to ban this particular electronic cigarette brand.
What Is Juul?
Juul Labs, Inc. is an American electronic cigarette company that Pax Labs created as a separate independent entity in 2017. Juuls Labs makes the Juul electronic cigarette, which works by atomizing nicotine salts from tobacco that’s commonly supplied by one-time-use cigarettes. Juul devices work by heating a cartridge that contains oils to create a vapor that’s meant to be inhaled.
The device is small enough to fit in a closed fist and has a tech-inspired design, making it appear like a USB flash drive. While the Juul company claims that this product is only meant for adult use, cartridges come in various flavors – including mint, mango, and crème brûlée – which appeal to young adults and teens.
Like cigarettes, Juul devices contain nicotine. A single Juul cartridge is roughly equivalent to a pack of cigarettes or 200 cigarette puffs. Nicotine is a well-known addictive substance, and evidence suggests nicotine use during adolescence and young adulthood, which is the age group of which most Juul users are part, has long-term impacts on brain development.
However, many young users don’t realize they’re inhaling nicotine when they use vape or e-cigarettes. In fact, the majority of youth e-cigarette users think that the last time they used a product, they vaped only a flavoring, not nicotine. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 99% of e-cigarettes sold in U.S. convenience stores, supermarkets, and similar outlets in 2015 contained nicotine.2 Not only does this indicate that the flavored cartridge options from Juul are misleading, but also that the dangers of vaping are not fully advertised or understood by all users.
Reason Behind the FDA Ban on Juul
The Juul vape ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came after a two-year review of the vaping powerhouse’s application seeking authorization to continue selling fruit-flavored products. The FDA reviewed Juul’s marketing applications as well as those of hundreds of other companies amid calls from anti-tobacco groups to crack down on products that contributed to a surge in youth vaping in the last decade.
In 2020, the FDA required all e-cigarette and vaping companies to submit applications to continue marketing their products. The agency also banned the distribution of fruit and mint-flavored cartridges used in e-cigarettes and vaping products. This ban, however, did not apply to menthol and tobacco-flavored products. In September 2021, the FDA banned the sale of hundreds of thousands of vaping and electronic cigarette products but did not rule on Juul, causing outrage.
It wasn’t until June 23, 2022, that the FDA banned Juul from selling and distributing its products in the United States. In addition, those currently on the U.S. market must be removed or risk enforcement action. Banned Juul products include the Juul device and four types of Juul pods: Virginia tobacco-flavored pods at nicotine concentrations of 5.0% and 3.0% and menthol-flavored pods at nicotine concentrations of 5.0% and 3.0%.
The marketing denial orders (MDOs) issued by the FDA to Juul Labs Inc. only pertain to the commercial distribution, importation, and retail sales of these products, and do not restrict the individual consumer possession or use. In other words, the company isn’t allowed to sell or distribute the aforementioned products, but users can still use and possess them.
Ultimately, the FDA banned Juul from selling certain products due to the company’s premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) lacking sufficient evidence regarding the toxicology of the products to demonstrate that marketing of the products would be appropriate for the protection of public health. Some of the company’s study findings raised concerns due to insufficient and conflicting data, particularly regarding genotoxicity and potentially harmful chemicals leaching from the company’s proprietary e-liquid pods.
The MDOs issued reflect the FDA’s decision that there’s insufficient evidence to assess the potential risks of using Juul products. There’s also no way to know the potential harm from using third-party e-cigarette cartridges with Juul vape pens or Juul pods with non-Juul devices. Additionally, the FDA recommends against modifying or adding substances to tobacco products and encourages Juul users to report any unexpected health problems to them.
Is Juul Still Banned in 2023?
Although the FDA did ban Juul products from being sold in the U.S. in June 2022, the agency has since put an administrative hold on the 2022 Juul ban until it can review the company’s marketing application again. On July 5th, 2022, the FDA stayed the marketing denial order.
While the FDA has not lifted the 2022 Juul ban, until the agency finishes its review, Juul can continue to sell its devices and unflavored vaping pods. This also means that people can still buy Juul products until the FDA makes a final decision. This means in 2023, Juul products are still available for purchase.
Dangers of Vaping
Although companies like Juul claim that vaping helps people with nicotine addictions quit smoking cigarettes, the majority of users are teens and young adults with no prior history of cigarette use. According to Blair Elise Wright, MD, a pediatrician at Northwestern Medicine, "Of my pediatric patients who have told me that they vape, none of them have reported doing so to quit smoking cigarettes.”
While the use of vapes and e-cigarettes is common, more research needs to be conducted to fully understand the risks. So far, however, evidence shows the following short and long-term effects of vaping on adolescent health:
- Increased potential for nicotine addiction.
- Harm to the brain and to some aspects of cognitive development, including attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Increased risk of misuse of other substances aside from nicotine products.
- E-cigarette liquid poisoning in children and adults through contact with the eyes or skin.
- Physical and psychological nicotine withdrawals, such as irritability, restlessness, feeling anxious or depressed, trouble sleeping, problems concentrating, and cravings for nicotine.
Vaping has also been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other health problems.
Addiction Recovery Care at Banyan
Additional risks of vaping include lung problems and mental health problems, including increased stress and anxiety. There’s also a matter of nicotine’s and tobacco’s roles as gateway drugs. Many people, especially youth, who start using nicotine products end up misusing alcohol and experimenting with other “harder” drugs.
For those who have developed a substance or alcohol addiction as a result of tobacco or nicotine use, our addiction treatment facilities are here to help. With numerous Banyan rehab locations spread out across the country, we offer a wide variety of substance abuse programs, including substance-specific treatment, therapy, and aftercare services to help individuals 18 years or older recover and regain their health.
If you’re interested in our Banyan addiction treatment services for yourself or a loved one, call us today at 888-280-4763. If you prefer, send us your contact information, and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.
- Truth Initiative - E-cigarettes: Facts, stats, and regulations
- Truth Initiative - A lot of youth think they aren’t vaping nicotine, but is that true?
- USA Today - Report: Federal ban on popular Juul products forthcoming amid youth vaping concerns
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration - FDA Denies Authorization to Market Juul Products
- Northwestern Medicine - What Makes Vaping So Dangerous?
- CDC - Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults