In one corner, there’s e-cigarette heavyweight JUUL Labs.
In the other corner, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In the center stands a fledgling industry, waiting for an “Endgame” of its own, a final epic battle between federal forces and the universal right to legally vape.
Think we could convince The Avengers to assemble one more time?
Probably not, but certainly worth the effort.
After all, JUUL can’t be the lone superhero.
Pressured by the FDA to be the leader in altering their marketing tactics away from minors, the San Francisco-based company released the “Make the Switch” campaign, targeting older ex-smokers by somberly suggesting their health will suffer if they don’t soon trade in traditional cigarettes for e-cigarettes.
Examining the advertisements JUUL used when it burst on the scene in 2015, using cool millennials to create the “JUULing” generation, will the rebrand satisfy the feds?
Short answer: No.
Alston & Bird Partner Marc Scheineson told POLITICO he believes JUUL is challenging the FDA to see how far it can go.
“They clearly are testing where FDA is going to draw the line here,” Scheineson said.
A series of studies have been conducted over the past five years, most concluding e-cigarettes have proven to be a successful quitting tool and are less risky than combustible cigarettes. But long-term effects are unknown and the FDA recently linked vaping to causing seizures.
During a recent interview with POLITICO, a JUUL representative pointed to the company’s progress with a series of ongoing research programs, featuring about 70,000 participants and aiming to answer many of the industry’s critics questions.
It’s evident more than rebrand is needed.
The FDA’s new chief, Ned Sharpless, will continue to monitor the marketing strategies of vaping companies like JUUL and will maintain its philosophy of ensuring the “off-ramp” is green-lighted as an aid for adults to quit smoking, while closing the “on-ramp” for minors to experiment with e-cigarettes, POLITICO reported.
“We simply won’t tolerate misleading marketing or selling tobacco products to children,” Sharpless said.
From their corners, both sides are set to continue brawling over the future of the industry.
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