Published on :
New York (AFP) – The US health agency (FDA) wants to ban the sale in the United States of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, of the Juul Labs brand, the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday.
A decision ordering the start-up to withdraw its products from the market could be announced as early as Wednesday, the business daily adds, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The start-up Juul enjoyed phenomenal success in the late 2010s with its USB stick-shaped vapes and flavored nicotine refills.
But the company has also been accused of having largely participated in the skyrocketing of vaping among adolescents, particularly targeting high school students.
Faced with pressure from the authorities, Juul Labs has already suspended sales of flavored refills, popular with young people, in 2019 and has undertaken to review its marketing strategy.
The company did not immediately respond to a request from AFP.
The FDA was tasked with reviewing vaping products to ensure that the benefit to adults (including helping them quit smoking traditional cigarettes) outweighed the risks posed to younger people.
The agency has already banned in 2020 the marketing of Juul-type vapers, refillable, with flavored tastes, fruit or candy, only allowing tobacco and menthol flavors.
To fight against the addiction of smokers, the administration of Joe Biden also announced on Tuesday that it wanted to considerably reduce the nicotine level of cigarettes sold in the United States.
The American tobacco company Altria fell by more than 8% at the start of the session on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company had made a big bet on Juul Labs in 2018 by investing more than 12 billion dollars there to acquire 35% of the start-up, valued at 38 billion by the operation. She then wanted to diversify her business, sales of classic cigarettes declining for a long time in the United States.
But in the face of new restrictions from health authorities and costly legal disputes, Juul’s value has since melted. Altria now estimates its investment was worth $1.7 billion at the end of 2021, valuing Juul at around $5 billion.
© 2022 AFP