As FDA bans Juul vape products from US market, doctors and critics weigh in

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday banned the U.S. sales of vaping products from Juul Labs Inc., as a report earlier this week from The Wall Street Journal suggested the agency would do. 

Fox News Digital reached out to Juul for comment; FOX Business also reached out to Altria, which owns 35% of Juul, for comment as well. 

For the past few years, doctors and other health officials have weighed in on — and are still weighing in on — the dangers of using e-cigarettes, especially for young people.

FDA BANS JUUL E-CIGARETTE PRODUCTS

Early on, vaping was thought by many to be a better alternative to cigarette smoking. “Vaping was supposed to eliminate the dangers of secondhand smoke to those nearby,” the Mayo Clinic noted.

Yet in recent years, e-cigarettes made headlines following a growing number of vape-connected deaths across the country. 

In this June 17, 2019, file photo, a cashier displays a packet of tobacco-flavored Juul pods at a store in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/Samantha Maldonado, File)

“If the reports [about the FDA ban] are true, removing Juul from the marketplace would be long overdue and most welcome,” the American Lung Association said in a statement to Fox News Digital just ahead of Thursday’s announcement by the FDA regarding Juul.

“Juul is largely responsible for the youth vaping epidemic,” the group continued. “It was the most popular e-cigarette among teens for several years and remains among the most popular today.”

“Ending the sale of all Juul products, including its menthol-flavored product, sends the message to companies that their blatant disregard for public health will not be tolerated,” the group also said.

‘Respiratory distress’

Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices; most heat a liquid solution usually of different flavors such as fruit-like grape, mango, candy and mint. This is what attracted young kids to the products contributing to the vaping epidemic, according to many sources. 

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Many teens also add other damaging additives to vaping devices, such as CBD oils, the Mayo Clinic noted on its website.  

“Most of the long-term health harms remain unknown, since late-generation vaping devices have only been in wide use for the past 5-7 years.”

“When patients show up to the emergency department in respiratory distress from vaping, it can be challenging for physicians to treat them due to the difficulty in correctly identifying what they inhaled, especially when they are intubated or unconscious,” the organization said.  

JUUL’s popularity with young people helped fuel unprecedented growth among vaping products, according to a 2018 analysis by Truth Initiative, a nonprofit tobacco control organization based in Washington, D.C.

In this Dec. 20, 2018, file photo, Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

JUUL e-cigarettes use pharmaceutical-grade “propylene glycol and glycerol to make up the majority of our e-liquids,” the same group indicated.

When the liquids are “heated, they form an aerosol which carries the nicotine, benzoic acid and flavors,” the organization said. 

Problems with vaping

Vaping — contrary to what many believe — “is not harmless. Most of the long-term health harms remain unknown, since late-generation vaping devices have only been in wide use for the past 5-7 years,” Dr. J. Taylor Hays, an internist and director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. 

“Children and teens should not vape,” he said.

“Nicotene dependence occurs with regular vaping,” said one Mayo Clinic professional to Fox News Digital.  (iStock)

“Nicotine dependence also occurs with regular vaping,” he said. “We are not certain about the adverse long-term impacts of high levels of the psychoactive substance nicotine will be on the developing brain of a young person.” 

“Learning disabilities and mental illness are just two of the many concerns in this regard,” Dr. Hays also said. “Finally, nicotine addiction to vaping could result in the transition to tobacco use for some youth.”

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are currently the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, said health and preventive services experts of Sentara Healthcare of Virginia.

“Parents can and should talk openly and regularly with their kids about avoiding the use of drugs.”

“E-cigarettes are part of the electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) group, which includes e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, e-cigars and vaping products,” according to Kira Koon and Megan McAnally, both of Sentara Healthcare of VA. 

The e-liquid contains chemicals such as propylene glycol and formaldehyde that can cause irreversible damage to the brain, lungs, blood vessels and more, they said.

FDA TO ORDER JUUL E-CIGARETTES OFF US MARKETS

It contains the “highly addictive chemical, nicotine, which negatively affects adolescent brain development. E-cigarettes have not been found safe or effective in helping smokers quit.”

What parents can do

Nicotine can harm brain development during adolescence and early adulthood.

Dr. Hays suggested parents can and should talk openly and regularly with their kids about avoiding the use of drugs. 

A young adult is shown vaping. E-cigarettes entered the U.S. marketplace in 2007-2008.

Parents should “encourage engagement with safe social activities like team sports and band; steer them toward healthy friendships; and create opportunities for many great role-modeling adults to be in their lives in and outside of family,” he said. 

“When you see unhealthy behavior, talk openly about it,” he also said. He said it’s critical to “ask good questions and provide feedback and support.”

Biggest challenge of anti-vaping messages

E-cigarettes entered the U.S. marketplace in 2007-2008 — and since 2014, they have been the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youth, American Lung Association experts noted.

“Many youths recognize that these products are not the ‘nasty’ cigarettes that older generations use. Teens are intrigued and enticed to use e-cigarettes for several reasons such as flavors, seeing friends and ‘influencers’ who also use the products, and the ‘high-tech’ appeal. There is often the misconception that these products are harmless and are just ‘water vapor,’” the group said in its statement.

It also directed parents and others to learn more about talking to kids about vaping at TalkAboutVaping.org. 

Critics of the new ban weigh in

Critics of the FDA’s outright ban on the sale of Juul products, however, have much to say about the action.

Homeschooling mom Bethany Mandel told Fox News Digital on Thursday morning, “With inflation and gas prices soaring, along with numbers of Fentanyl overdoses, the priorities of this White House are baffling.”

“What kind of black market will this create — and will this decision ultimately create more problems than it solves? These are questions that Big Government busybodies never ask,” she added.

“Americans make countless decisions that carry negative health consequences, and the freedom to do that shouldn’t be infringed by a White House desperate to change the narrative at a time when its approval ratings are at all-time lows,” Mandel also told Fox News Digital. 

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Added Mandel, who has five children, “It’s an upside-down world when the White House is attacking forms of smoking that have always been legal, while distributing crack pipes in ‘safe smoking kits.’”