Juul Labs Seeks FDA Approval for Next-Generation Vape with Age Verification

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Juul Labs Seeks FDA Approval for Next-Generation Vape with Age Verification
Juul Labs has applied to the FDA to sell a new vape with age verification features to encourage adult smokers to switch to e-cigarettes while restricting access for underage users.

Juul Labs, the e-cigarette company, has applied for authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell a new "next-generation" vape that includes age verification capabilities. The proposed vape requires users to either upload their government ID and a real-time selfie or input personal information and allow a third-party database to verify their identity through a phone app. The device also includes a unique Pod ID chip that can detect counterfeit cartridges made by other companies. Juul's mission with this new platform is to encourage adult smokers to switch to e-cigarettes while restricting underage access. The legal age to purchase e-cigarettes in the US is 21.


Juul has a controversial history in US markets. The company has settled over 5,000 cases brought by approximately 10,000 plaintiffs who claim that Juul deceived or failed to warn consumers about the risks of its products. They have agreed to pay more than $1 billion in various legal settlements. Juul dominated over 70% of the US e-cigarette market in 2018, but its popularity among youth has declined. In 2022, the most frequently used e-cigarette brand among youth was Puff Bar, followed by Vuse and then Juul.


Juul Labs has submitted its most recent application to the FDA, which concerns the Virginia Tobacco flavor with a nicotine concentration of 18 mg per ml. The new vape includes age verification capabilities, but it does not automatically lock pods before use to avoid creating "friction" for adult smokers. The company plans to research other flavors to potentially submit to the FDA.


Regulating e-cigarettes is a constant challenge for the FDA due to the increasing number of products and the tobacco industry's efforts to flood the market. Only 23 specific e-cigarette products have been authorized by the FDA so far, all of which are tobacco flavored. Despite this, more than 2.5 million US middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2022, with the majority consuming fruity or candy-flavored products, despite their illegality.


To gain FDA authorization, Juul must prove that their new platform helps address the public health crisis of adult smoking without exacerbating youth vaping. The company sees this as the beginning of new technology being developed to eliminate combustible cigarettes and combat underage use.

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