September 20th, Walmart announced they will stop selling all e-cigarette products in Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs. A Walmart spokeswoman stated that the reason for this is because “the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes.” Walmart will finish selling the products they have in stock, and will not be selling more after that.
September 25th, Juul announced that their CEO, Kevin Burns, would be stepping down. He is being replaced by an executive from Altria, K.C. Crosthwaite. Altria is one of the world’s leading tobacco companies and purchased 35% stake in Juul last year. Upon Crosthwaite’s hiring, Juul released a statement that they would not be lobbying against the Trump Administration’s ban, and they would be pausing all advertisements in the U.S. Juul agree that the amount of youth using their product is “unacceptable” and their goal remains switching adult smokers to their product. Crosthwaite also stated that Juul “must strive to work with regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders, and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate.”
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On September 11th, The Trump administration announced a plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working on a plan to remove the flavored pods from being sold. This comes shortly after the FDA warned Juul that they were advertising their product illegally, saying their products are less harmful than regular cigarettes, despite not getting federal approval for that claim.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been over 380 cases of lung injury linked to use of vaping products. The CDC has also stated their investigations have not linked any of these cases to one specific device or substance. Since August, there have been seven deaths linked to the use of vapes, one of which was in Indiana. Despite the death, Indiana has not directly taken a stance on banning e-cigarettes.
On September 4th, Michigan became the first state to write up a ban flavored e-cigarette products, however this ban has not yet been implemented. Once the ban begins next month, it will last six months and can be renewed once for another six months.The Michigan Health Department plans to use this time to research a permanent ban. Juul, the leading e-cigarette company in the U.S., feels that banning flavored products, particularly mint and menthol, is a bad idea. Due to the existence of menthol flavored cigarettes, Juul believes that removing them as options for e-cigarettes also discourages smokers of menthol flavored cigarettes from switching to e-cigarettes. Juul states in its mission and values that their goal is to cut the amount of people smoking actual cigarettes, not introduce smoking to non-smokers.
Some have criticized the ban, stating that it will push people to purchasing counterfeit versions of products, thus making them less safe as the FDA has no control over them. Because no specific brand or ingredients has been linked to the illnesses, most states are advising avoiding all of them if possible. Others have also pointed out that e-cigarettes are meant to help people stop smoking, and by banning certain types it could also limit access that someone looking to quit smoking.
The CDC has issued a statement asking that people who have recently used e-cigarette products to seek medical assistance if they begin to notice symptoms similar to those being reported. These symptoms include coughing, chest and abdominal pain, nausea, and shortness of breath.