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Former FDA Chief Says Juul Created a Youth Vaping ‘Crisis’

November 5, 2019, 11:35 PM UTC

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Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb isn’t mincing words about vaping giant Juul.

Gottlieb, a known advocate for different (but safe) alternatives to combustible cigarette smoking, stepped down from the top perch at the FDA this spring after a largely lauded tenure. He’s had his share of critics for attempting to delay certain regulatory requirements on e-cigarette makers (I go into these issues in far greater detail in my recent piece on the future of the vaping industry).

But here’s what Gottlieb said on Tuesday: “The youth vaping crisis was always a Juul crisis. I believe they primarily created it. One company, bent on pursuing top line growth at almost any cost, may have wrecked the entire concept of harm reduction in the U.S,” he wrote in a tweet.

Gottlieb has been critical of efforts to ban flavored e-cigarette pods—including new initiatives by the Trump administration to yank products that could appeal to children off the market entirely—that don’t also encompass menthol- and mint-flavored vaping cartridges. In his latest tweet, Gottlieb points to a new study finding that mint (and mint-adjacent) flavors are among the most popular for young users.

Fortune has reached out to Juul, which recently decided to pull its candy-flavored pods such as mango and other fruity variants from stores, for comment on Gottlieb’s criticisms and will update this post if it responds. Juul is facing multiple lawsuits and intense regulatory scrutiny for allegedly marketing products to children and other consumer safety concerns.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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