In 2019, a federal court sided with health groups, forcing the FDA to begin enforcing its authorization process for vaping companies. The FDA has given e-cigarette makers a 2020 deadline to apply for authorization or be forced off shelves. (The deadline was later pushed back because of Covid.) Juul has been on sale for four years, and by that time captured 75% of the vaping market. But its future is starting to look cloudy.
Juul now has turn.As Jamie Ducharme writes in her 2019 book, the company big electronic cigarette, Mimicking a typical San Francisco startup, people would “skate back and forth on the concrete floor of the office and shoot each other with foam Nerf darts.” Many of the early employees, like founders Monsees and Bowen, have design and marketing backgrounds. Juul must now adapt to regulatory scrutiny and produce numerous reports about its product ingredients, ingredients and health risks to win FDA authorization.
The company began recruiting people to handle government relations and manage public affairs. It also dented its own lineup, pulling its most popular flavors — like mango and fruit blends — off shelves, leaving only menthol, mint and tobacco pods. The company’s announcement quoted then-CEO KC Crosthwaite as promising to “reset the vaping category by earning society’s trust and working with regulators, policymakers and stakeholders.”
Many U.S. lawmakers were unimpressed. A spate of mysterious lung injuries linked to other vaping companies has further damaged the reputation of the new industry. In 2019, San Francisco banned all vaping products that haven’t been reviewed by the FDA — preventing Juul from selling its products in its home state. By the end of the year, Congress had approved legislation to raise the national e-cigarette sales age from 18 to 21.
None of this poses a bigger threat to Juul than the FDA, which began to swing wildly in the vaping market. As expected, Juul ordered to stop selling all vaping products with sweet and fruity flavors in 2020, and rejected marketing licenses for more than 55,000 flavored vaping products in 2021.
Finally, in June, the FDA hit Juul, rejected its own marketing application, and ordered its product off the market. While official reasoning is that the toxicology data provided by the company was insufficient, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf noted in a statement that Juul may have “played a disproportionate role in the increase in youth vaping.”
even juul Survive, and its moment as a disruptive market leader may be over. Cornell graduate Jeong said his peers stopped using Juuls when the company stopped using Juuls’ popular flavors. People love mints that stay on the shelf, but no one wants to smoke Juul in tobacco flavor.
Rather than give up their vaping habit, his friends turned to other emerging brands to make up for Juul’s declining market share. One of them, Fume, still sells flavors like pineapple, which Jeong describes as “drinking piña colada,” thanks to a new regulatory loophole. The FDA’s ban applies to flavored vape pods, such as Juul’s, but not to pre-charged and pre-filled single-use e-cigarettes. In 2020, disposable Puff Bars with flavors like Banana Ice and Blue Razz have replaced Juul as the most popular vaping device among teens.