CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) – The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on e-cigarettes by banning Juul products in the US over safety concerns. The company has also been accused of marketing its products to teens, linking them to the rise in teen vaping.
Colorado vape stores respond to the ban, sharing their thoughts on Juul.
FOX31 visited Centennial Vapor and the owner, Matt Branson, offered a unique perspective on the ban, sharing that Juul has cast a dark cloud on the vaping industry. FOX31 has also called about 15 vape stores and almost all of them stopped selling Juul products and took them off the shelves years ago.
Some said they are overpriced, heavily regulated by the company, and highly addictive.
Juul ban is ‘great’, says vape shop owner
Juul has now been forced to remove all of his electronic cigarettes from store shelves with immediate effect. The decision was announced by the FDA on Thursday morning after they said Juul had not provided sufficient evidence about the safety of its products. Juul pods contain nicotine and are considered addictive.
“It gave the whole industry a bad name, even the mom-and-pop stores like us,” Branson said.
The ban is a decision that Branson welcomes with open arms.
“I love it. Really,” Branson said. “I think this industry should be left to the specialty vape shops. Keep large tobacco out of it. That’s what brought us here in the first place. All these people are here because they have become addicted to a major tobacco product.”
Juul has come under fire in recent years for targeting teens with fruity flavors and ads featuring young people promoting the product, which correlates with increased vaping among teens.
“They have these marketing campaigns, they had this little device that’s easy to hide, and it’s very addictive,” Branson said. “Because of the marketing, it seemed like a lot of kids started using it then.”
50% of high school vapers say they are addicted
According to the FOX31 Data Desk, Colorado has a lot of teens who vape. A Healthy Kids Colorado survey reports that 30% of high school students have vaped at least once, with 16% in the past 30 days. They’re not just dabbling either: 50% of mainstream high school students say they’re addicted and have tried to quit.
Federal law requires you to be 21 years old to purchase e-cigarettes.
“None of the specialty vape shops are trying to get kids addicted to nicotine at all. Nobody wants that. They don’t buy it in the specialty vape stores, they buy it in the park from people from TikTok and Snapchat,” Branson said.
He also said there are always a few bad apples in convenience stores that sell to kids, but most kids buy Juul products through social media or online sources. Branson said the ban is a step in the right direction, but more enforcement and regulation is needed. He believes that Juul has given the vape industry a “black eye”.
“All these people here are adults and they’re all having their IDs scanned,” Branson said. “We’re just trying to help adults move away from major cancer-causing tobacco products to something much safer. Juul has created such a black eye for the industry. They were the only ones on the market. You’d see them on billboards and magazines, and then it gave the mom and pop, brick and mortar industries a bad name. Everyone kind of shunned Juul and said hey you are big tobacco, we don’t want anything to do with you and at that point we stopped selling it.”
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released a statement in response to the FDA’s decision, saying it “should have been a long time coming,” Juul products are deceptive and their marketing is predatory.
Juul said it respectfully disagrees with the FDA’s decision and plans to appeal it.
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