A federal court temporarily blocked the government’s order for Juul to stop selling his electronic cigarettes.
Juul filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington earlier Friday to appeal the sales ban, and the court later granted the request.
The e-cigarette manufacturer has asked the court to suspend an “extraordinary and illegal action” by the Food and Drug Administration that would have required it to cease its business immediately.
The FDA said Thursday that Juul should stop selling its vaping device and its tobacco- and menthol-flavored cartridges.
The action was part of a comprehensive effort by the agency to bring scientific inquiry into the multi-billion dollar vaping industry after years of regulatory delays.
To stay on the market, companies need to show that their e-cigarettes benefit public health. In practice, this means proving that adult smokers who use it are more likely to quit or reduce their smoking, while teenagers are unlikely to become addicted to it.
The FDA said Juul’s application left regulators with significant questions and did not include enough information to evaluate any potential health risks. Juul said he had submitted enough information and data to address all issues raised. The company said the FDA refused its request to stop its order to avoid a massive disruption of its business.
While Juul remains a top seller, its share of the US e-cigarette market has dropped to about half. The company was widely blamed a few years ago for an increase in vaping for minors, but a recent federal survey showed a drop in the teen vapor rate and a shift away from Juul’s products.
The devices heat a nicotine solution to a vapor that is inhaled, bypassing many of the toxic chemicals produced by burning tobacco.
The company said in its Friday court filing that it had submitted a 125,000-page application to the FDA almost two years ago. The application is said to contain several studies to evaluate the health risks among Juul users.
Juul said the FDA could not argue that there was a “critical and urgent public interest” in removing its products from the market immediately when the agency allowed them to be sold during its review.
The company noted that the FDA denied its application while authorizing those submitted by competitors with similar products.
The FDA has rejected OK’d e-cigarettes from RJ Reynolds, Logic and other companies, while many others have rejected them.
In 2019, Juul was put under pressure to stop all advertising and eliminate its fruit and dessert flavors after it became popular among middle and high school students. The following year, the FDA restricted odors in small vaping devices to just tobacco and menthol.
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