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Philippines: FDA should be final authority on vaping

7 September 2022

By Marvin Tort, Business World

In late June, I wrote about how a global public health issue — vaping by young people — had made its way to a US court. It was a case of legal review, before a Washington DC appeals court, after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned global vaping producer Juul Labs from selling its e-cigarettes in the United States.

But while that case is pending, the New York Times reported on Tuesday that Juul “tentatively agreed to pay $438.5 million to settle a multi-state investigation into the company’s role in the teen vaping crisis.” The settlement “would prohibit the company from marketing to youth, funding education in schools, and misrepresenting the level of nicotine in its products.”

Locally, the Philippine Star published an Agence France Presse (AFP) report that Juul Labs would pay hundreds of millions over six to 10 years “to settle a probe by 34 US states that found the vaping company marketed to underage smokers.” Juul would pay “individual US states and pledge to not employ cartoons in ads or otherwise market to younger consumers.”

The AFP report, quoting an Oregon Department of Justice (DoJ) press release, also said Juul was found to have “willfully engaged in an advertising campaign that appealed to youth, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them to purchase and unhealthy for children.” It also said Juul “relentlessly marketed to underage users with launch parties, advertisements using young and trendy-looking models, social media posts, and free samples.”

The Oregon DoJ also noted that Juul “used age verification techniques ‘that it knew were ineffective,’” prompting Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to comment that “the conduct that led to this settlement was reprehensible and demonstrates pure corporate greed at its most damaging.” She added, “Just when we were starting to make serious progress reducing tobacco use among our young people, Juul came along and hooked another generation.”