Juul, facing FDA pressure, plans age lock
A total of 2,758 people have been hospitalized or have died due to a vaping- and THC-related lung illness
Juul Labs is planning an age lock on its vape products for users under 21 in an effort to please the Food and Drug Administration.
The expected age-lock product, which must be submitted for approval by the FDA, comes as the U.S. government pressures Juul and other e-cigarette companies to crack down on youth vaping.
“We are committing all necessary resources to submit a scientifically rigorous [Premarket Tobacco Product Application] designed to provide FDA with the science and evidence needed to assess the role our products can play moving smokers away from cigarettes while combatting underage use," Juul spokesman Austin Finan told FOX Business.
"We respect the PMTA process and look forward to sharing our comprehensive scientific research program," Finan said.
A total of 2,758 people in all 50 states and two U.S. territories have been hospitalized or have died due to a vaping- and THC-related lung illness called "e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury" (EVALI), as of Feb. 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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That number, however, has been steadily decreasing since its peak in September, data from the CDC shows.
While Juul's popularity boomed in the last three years, especially among young people, the e-cigarette maker's future has become uncertain following the outbreak of EVALI.
The use of vape products that contain Vitamin E and illicit THC have been strongly linked to EVALI, the CDC reported. THC is the ingredient in marijuana that produces a chemical high.
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Since the outbreak, Juul's value has decreased by about one-third. The Trump administration raised the legal vaping age to 21 in December and issued a ban on certain flavored e-cigarettes in January. Tobacco, however, remains the No. 1 leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing nearly 480,000 people annually, according to the anti-tobacco campaign Tobacco-Free Kids.