CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on e-cigarettes by banning Juul products in the U.S over safety concerns. The company has also been accused of marketing its products to teenagers, tying them to the teen vaping surge.
Colorado vape shops are reacting to the ban and 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 put a dark cloud on the vaping industry. FOX31 also called about 15 vape shops and just about all of them did not sell Juul products anymore, taking them off their shelves years ago.
Some said they are too expensive, heavily regulated by the company and highly addictive.
Juul ban is ‘great,’ vape shop owner says
Juul is now forced to pull all its electronic cigarettes from store shelves, effective immediately. The decision was announced by the FDA on Thursday morning after they say Juul failed to provide sufficient evidence on the safety of its products. Juul pods do contain nicotine and are considered addictive.
“It gave the whole industry a bad name, even the mom-and-pop shops like us,” Branson said.
The ban is a decision Branson welcomes with open arms.
“I think it’s great. I really do,” Branson said. “I think this industry should be left to the specialty vape shops. Keep big tobacco out of it. That’s what got us here in the first place. All these people are here because they got addicted to a big tobacco product.”
Juul has come under fire in recent years for targeting teens with fruity flavors and ads with young people promoting the product, correlating to increased teen vaping.
“They have these marketing campaigns, they had this small device that’s easily concealable, and it’s highly addictive,” Branson said. “Because of the marketing, it seemed like that’s when a lot of the kids started using it.”
50% of high-school vapers say they’re hooked
According to the FOX31 Data Desk, Colorado has a lot of teens vaping. A Healthy Kids Colorado Survey reports that 30% of high schoolers have vaped at least once, with 16% vaping the last 30 days. They aren’t just dabbling, either: 50% of regular high-schooler users say they’re hooked and have tried to quit.
Federal law states that you must be 21 years old to buy e-cigarettes.
“None of the specialty vape shops are trying to get kids hooked on nicotine at all. Nobody wants that. They’re not buying it at the specialty vape shops, they’re buying it at the park from people off TikTok and Snapchat,” Branson said.
He also said there are always a few bad apples at convenience stores selling to kids, but most kids buy Juul products using social media or online resources. Branson said the ban is a step in the right direction, but more enforcement and regulation are needed. He believes Juul has put a “black eye” on the vaping industry.
“All of these people here are adults, and all get their IDs scanned,” Branson said. “We’re simply trying to help adults get off big tobacco cancer-causing products onto something much safer. Juul kind of created this black eye on the industry. They were the only ones marketing. You would see them on billboards and magazines, and that’s when it kind of gave the mom and pop, brick and mortar industry a bad name. Everybody kind of shunned Juul and said hey, you’re big tobacco, we don’t want anything to do with you guys and we stopped selling it at that point.”
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released a statement in response to the FDA’s decision, saying it was “long overdue,” that Juul products are deceptive and its marketing is predatory.
Juul said it respectfully disagrees with the FDA’s decision and plans to fight it with an appeal.