The proverbial heat is on for a prominent e-cigarette manufacturer. Their hype may define the oft-used term, “Too good to be true.”
Several deaths shrouded in mystery are linked to the use of vaping devices with many experts pointing to dangerous additives circulating in the black market. To date, 450 cases are under investigation, including 127 reports of seizures. Six have resulted in fatalities, according to The Centers for Disease Control.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pointing a finger at Juul Labs, Inc., an e-cigarette company that has leaped to the top of their industry, achieving a level of prominence over its competitors. Thanks to a $13 billion investment by Altria Group Inc., well known for its Marlboro cigarettes, the company is currently valued at approximately $35 billion.
Health officials issued a warning about possible violations over the company’s claim of safety. Their “Make the Switch” marketing pitch talk about the reduced risks as opposed to cigarettes and how Juul devices can aid in quitting cigarettes altogether. Promises of cessation is a bold strategy considering the FDA has yet to approve Juul’s products as anything resembling smoking-cessation tools.
The FDA also claims that Juul never secured approval for that type of promotion. Second, Juul’s audience leans younger than a run-of-the-mill, seasoned adult smoker. Students seem to be the focus as evidenced by a recently launched, then canceled social media campaign appearing on a variety of apps.
Juul is already facing an uphill climb in securing FDA clearance that will keep their products permanently available to consumers. Growing concerns over illness and death, regardless of the cause, could eventually put the company ironically on the ash heap.