Last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration seized reams of documents from the San Francisco headquarters of e-cigarette maker Juul. The federal agency announced on Tuesday.
The FDA has been looking at the marketing practices of the company as the agency’s Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says that teen use of the vaping devices has become an epidemic.
This comes off the request by the agency in April for Juul materials related to how its products appeal to children. Friday’s inspection sought additional documentation that is related to the sales and marketing of Juul products amongst other things, said the FDA in an official statement.
CEO of Juul Kevin Burns explained how the company took FDA through each part of the business including its age-verification tools that its uses for its online store and its different marketing practices.
Following the news of the FDA surprise inspection, shares of the Big Tobacco companies Altria, British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International all moved higher.
Juul controls over 73% of the e-cigarette market and has been under the FDA microscope this year due to the use of e-cigarettes skyrocketing amongst teens.
The agency’s inspection comes just weeks after an announcement by the FDA of a crackdown requiring makers of e-cigarettes including Juul, to submit their plans on addressing the youth use of their different products within a period of 60 days.
The FDA threatened as well to ban some of the flavored nicotine liquids that critics has said make e-cigarettes attractive to kids.
During the last year, there has been a surge in number of high school age students who have used e-cigarettes over the last 30 days by as much as 75%, showed data from the Center for Disease Control, that an anonymous source provided since that data has not been made public.
That means an estimated 3 million or close to 20% of high school children are using e-cigarettes which is up from 11.7% or about 1.73 million in data from one year ago.
The craze for e-cigarettes has been the driving force in what is considered the largest increase of nicotine use amongst teens in decades. That follows several years of declines to record lows in cigarette smoking amongst teens.