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FDA warns Juul for misleading advertising

Juul vape pen
Photo: Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images

The FDA sent a warning letter to Juul on Monday threatening fines and/or product seizure for misleadingly marketing its vaping technology — especially in its outreach to youths — as less harmful than cigarettes.

Why it matters: After a spate of respiratory illness reports, the CDC issued a formal warning last month against the broad use of e-cigarettes and recommended that users avoid buying bootlegged vaping products. State attorneys general are also targeting the vaping startup through investigations and lawsuits designed to prevent youths from using the product.

  • Acting FDA commissioner Ned Sharpless said in a statement that "Juul has ignored the law" because it marketed its tobacco product as less harmful than cigarettes without clearance from the FDA.
  • "[T]he law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful," he added.

A Juul spokesperson said the company is "reviewing the letters and will fully cooperate."  

Go deeper: Juul's growing kids crisis