The fate of both JUUL and the vaping industry as a whole has been called into question since the manufacturer received its marketing denial orders (MDO) from the Food & Drug Administration on June 23, 2022.
A number of experts have weighed in since that decision, expressing a range of opinions, including concern for what the ban will mean to the vaping industry, and even the tobacco industry.
Since the original MDO, JUUL has received a temporary respite from enforcing the ban by the Federal Appeals Court.
The court had given a strict set of deadlines for both parties to complete before a final ruling would take place, but the FDA and JUUL both agreed to put a hold on their legal conflict as of July 6.
What the Experts Are Saying
The reaction to the denial orders to JUUL has been varied, to say the least, even amongst the experts. However, there was one shared sentiment – shock.
Vivien Azer, a tobacco analyst at Cowen, was even caught by surprise upon the news. “This report clearly comes as a surprise to the market, and to us, as we had thought that JUUL could get limited approvals,” she told Barrons.
Other expert opinions range from relief and joy to concern regarding the potential implications of the bar.
“I believe this is just the opening gun,” said John Banzahf, a lawyer and legal activist at George Washington University Law School. “It seems like JUUL was singled out first in large part due to their marketing towards kids.”
Banzahf is the founder of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which is an international anti-smoking group. Interestingly, Banzahf is an anti-vape advocate, despite the known benefits of vaping in regards to smoking cessation.
He later remarked that the marketing decision regarding JUUL was a direct result of pressure from the Biden administration and its continued campaign against the tobacco industry.
The FDA’s decision to target JUUL resonates with the complaints issued by the American Vapor Manufacturers (AVM) recently, wherein the group highlighted the strong political influence found within the agency’s decision-making practices.
Kenneth Warner’s comments seem to resonate with this sentiment. Warner is dean emeritus of public health at the University of Michigan
“I believe the reason is essentially political. There was so much opposition to JUUL – from parent groups, organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (the most influential tobacco NGO), and legislators in state legislatures and Congress – that FDA simply could not have authorized the sale of JUUL,” Warner stated. “The reaction would have been fierce and possibly even threatened the agency’s funding.”
Robert Proctor, a Stanford University professor, believes the JUUL ban holds perhaps massive implications for not only the vaping industry, but the tobacco industry as a whole.
“This rebuff to JUUL could signal their willingness to remove the nicotine from cigarettes, which will take the addictive sting out of smoking,” Proctor said to Insider.
While the JUUL ban itself was not well met by many vaping advocates, it would indeed be nothing in comparison to the outrage the smoking population would demonstrate at even the thought of a nicotine cigarette ban by the FDA.
However, there are those who believe the ban not to be a sign of worse things to come. Eric Lindblom believes the ban to be too “product specific” to give insight into future decisions by the FDA.
Lindblom was the director for tobacco control at O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University.
The news of the MDO was seen as potentially a nail in the coffin for JUUL, and subsequently a huge loss for Altria Group.
Altria stock dropped 9% on the Wednesday following the news. The value of JUUL sits at only $450 million, a mere 5% of its peak of $38 billion.
At the time of investment, Altria submitted $12.8 billion for a 35% share of the vaping superpower.
The FDA’s marketing orders issued to JUUL left many shocked and many more with a range of opinions. While anti-vaping advocates and disgruntled parents alike will have been no doubt overwhelmed with joy, the effects may be far more reaching than the ban of just JUUL.
Experts believe the targeting of such a large name in vaping is a result of continued pressure from the Biden administration to all but eliminate the tobacco industry. While this may seem dramatic, recent news of nicotine limits in cigarettes could give an indication into the direction that we are headed.