Wednesday, May 29, 2024

JUUL comes back after ban

By Bryn Fawn

JUUL has become one of the leading brands when it comes to nicotine vapes. The Federal Drug Administration for years has been trying to ban them from the United States. However, their new approach is to assist nicotine addicts. Is this enough to keep them on store shelves?

In late June 2022, the FDA banned JUUL from being sold on store shelves. However, the US court of appeals uplifted this ban momentarily. In that time, JUUL has been scrambling to keep hold of the US market. JUUL has increased sales by about 50% from 2020 to 2021, selling 22 million units. 

One of their more popular products was their flavored pods. JUUL used to sell flavors designed after desserts and fruit such as mango, fruit medley, cool cucumber and creme brulee. There were more flavors in production and distribution. However, in January 2020, the FDA banned flavors that seemed appealing to underage vapers, such as those listed above. Today, JUUL only sells menthol and Virginia tobacco flavors in New York.

The removal of “fun” flavors left a bitter taste in adult’s mouths. JUUL users who were of age were seemingly punished for a problem that was not their fault. Many enjoyed the taste while indulging or even trying to combat their addiction, and some are now willing to move back to cigarettes. Vapes, while not 100% safe, are far safer than cigarettes; to their users and those around them. Cigarettes release smoke and tar into the air when exhaled, which is not only toxic to the smoker, but to any bystanders. 

JUUL has swiftly changed their approach to product. Their website about page now claims their mission is to “transition the world’s billion adult smokers away from combustible cigarettes, eliminate their use and combat underage usage of our products.” JUUL claimed they have designed their products for of-age vapers only, but that has not stopped minors from getting a hold of their products and continuing to vape. Some teens have shifted brands, however, due to a loophole in the ruling of flavored vapes, as disposable — unlike JUUL’s reusable design — flavored vapes are still allowed. New York State has banned flavored vapes altogether. 

Vapes are wildly popular, not just in middle and high schools, but college campuses as well. Not just nicotine either, as marijuana vapes are common on campus. Their nature allows users to be more discreet. They do not let out smoke, just water vapor, and so do not trigger the smoke detectors in dorm buildings. They’re still not allowed on campus, as there are only designated nicotine sites on campus and any marijuana smoking must be done off campus. Any individual caught with one, especially underage, will be subject to disciplinary action. 

Marijuana has also become legal for recreational use within New York State, which only gives JUUL more competition in smoke shops. JUUL does not sell marijuana vapes, solely nicotine products.  

With nicotine vapes no longer being as popular as marijuana, it is only a waiting game to see if their sudden shift to pro-quitting will save them from the FDA’s ban. Store shelves may never see JUUL pods again, or they will once again come flying off the shelves. 

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