The jury is still out on this aspect, mainly because the new product did not easily fall within standard regulatory frameworks. Because it was not tobacco, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms could not claim jurisdiction. But it wasn’t quite food either, although the vapor had to be ingested. Years of federal procrastination have allowed a youth addiction crisis to develop. Finally, the Food and Drug Administration took control of the regulatory issue and promised to rule by September 9.
Cigarette maker Altria has a large financial stake in Juul and has joined the company in its multi-million dollar lobbying campaign. Altria’s involvement is exactly why federal regulators should be wary of any claims that Juul should be trusted to behave responsibly in the future. The cigarette industry has spent decades steadily increasing the nicotine content of its products for the specific purpose of building lifelong customer loyalty through addiction, including using cartoon characters like Joe Camel to appeal to young people. smokers.
For federal regulators, a key question will be whether e-cigarettes ultimately do more good than harm by encouraging people to quit smoking tobacco. Juul says his research shows very positive results on this front.
But just as no one should have trusted the claims made by cigarette companies that their products did not cause cancer, the federal government should not be giving nicotine vapor marketers the benefit of the doubt.