Tim Marchman had been a smoker for almost 25 years when he decided it was time to quit the habit. However, he did not want to become what he refers to as “a vape guy.” This is the kind of person who spends hours in specialised stores selecting among dozens of electronic nicotine delivery devices, many of which are pretty complicated. He did not want to become this sort of person. Therefore, he decided to go with what seemed to be the least complicated alternative, which was to purchase a Juul, which at one point in time was nearly synonymous with vaping.
The Food and Drug Administration issued a directive to Juul Labs on Thursday, telling the company to stop selling its products in the United States. The FDA stated that the company had provided insufficient and contradictory data regarding the potentially harmful chemicals that could leach out of Juul’s e-liquid pods. On Friday, a federal judge granted a temporary reprieve to the firm, allowing it to keep its e-cigarettes in shops awaiting a legal review of the F.D.A. decision. This will enable the company to continue selling e-cigarettes while the legality of the FDA ruling is examined.
The ruling from the F.D.A. came after years of criticism about the detrimental health effects of Juul products and how the company marketed to minors with a variety of sweet tastes, including mango, crème brûlée, and mint, as well as with youth-oriented marketing efforts.
By 2018, the popularity of Juul had escalated to the point that the name of the brand had become a verb. Teens were “juuling” in secret inside of high school classes and halls. During the same year, Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, reached an agreement to purchase a 35 percent ownership in Juul Labs for the price of $13 billion. Then, a wave of lawsuits were brought against the firm by the attorneys general of several states, alleging the company of exploiting its advertising efforts in a way that encouraged youth to get addicted to nicotine. In the end, Juul had to pay tens of millions of dollars to resolve the claims that were brought against them in 2019 and 2021. The growth and collapse of the corporation, which was portrayed in the documentary “Move Fast and Vape Things” produced by The New York Times in 2021, was a success story in Silicon Valley that turned out to be a public health disgrace.
Although Juul saw a drop in revenue when it reduced its advertising in response to the litigation, the company continued to be one of the most well-known and popular brands of electronic cigarettes available on the market. The news of the impending ban was troubling for Matthew Luther, who is 31 years old and resides in Detroit. Luther restores leather products for a living.
Mr. Luther, who is 31 years old, stated, “I will most certainly miss the Juuls.” “I believe that they were more pleasing to the eye. They can be refilled, and they are convenient to carry about in your pocket. According to him, much like the other people who were interviewed for this piece, he loved the straightforward design of the Juul gadget, which is shaped like a flash drive. “The prohibition strikes me as absurd,” he said.
The decision from the F.D.A. came at the same same time that Mr. Luther had increased his usage of Juul products. He explained it by saying, “I guess it’s simply life, stress, and the fact that I’ve been trying to stop smoking cigarettes.” In recent years, Juul’s rivals, such as Puff Bar, have seen their customer bases expand. However, for many people, Juul is still associated with vaping devices, much in the same way that Kleenex is with tissues.
Jenny Mathison, who started using the Juul brand in 2018, said, “When I think of electronic cigarettes, I think of Juul.” She stated that it was the only nicotine replacement therapy she had tried that was successful in helping her break the habit of smoking Marlboro cigarettes that she had developed throughout her time in high school. Ms. Mathison, who is a full-time caretaker for her crippled husband and resides in Rancho Mirage, California, said that she would probably switch to Vuse, a competitive brand, if the F.D.A. is approved. Ms. Mathison is 54 years old.
If the FDA decision is sustained, it might result in Mr. Marchman, the editor in Philadelphia, becoming the exact sort of person that he has long feared becoming — a vape guy. This is something that he has hated for a long time. Mr. Marchman said, “I’m going to wind up with some odd vaping setup that I don’t quite understand.” “I’m going to have to choose a gadget and experiment with a variety of liquids. It’s going to blow up into a major problem.”