The e-cigarette company Juul has been accused of illegally marketing its nicotine pods as less harmful than regular cigarettes, according to reports.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a letter to Juul stating that if it did not take corrective actions within the next 15 days, it could face fines or a seizure of its products.
Reports said the agency sent the letter after reviewing the testimonies of company executives during a House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee hearing in July.
In a statement, Acting FDA Commissioner Norman “Ned” Sharpless wrote:
The law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful. JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth.
The company, which was founded by two former smokers, said its goal is to “maximize the positive and reduce the negative,” adding that “these alternatives contain nicotine, which has not been shown to cause cancer but can create dependency. We believe that these alternatives are not appropriate for people who do not already smoke.”
In a second letter sent on Monday, the FDA asked the company for more information about its marketing practices, such as scientific evidence or data that shows if terms like “switch” or “alternative” give consumers the idea that its cigarettes are less harmful than combustible cigarettes, according to a report by CNBC.
The report also noted that company spokesman Ted Kwong said Juul was “reviewing the letters and will fully cooperate.”
During the congressional hearing in July, two New York high school students testified that a Juul representative who gave a presentation on addiction at their school allegedly told them that the company’s product was “totally safe.”
However, vaping has reportedly been linked to at least five deaths and 450 illnesses across the nation.
On Wednesday, Breitbart News reported that the state of Michigan announced it would place a ban on flavored nicotine vaping products due to the rising health concerns.
“And right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). “That ends today.”