Briefing

Juul says it abides by Canadian rules following U.S. FDA criticism

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In a Monday letter to Juul, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said companies need to “demonstrate with scientific evidence” that their products are lower-risk or less harmful than regular tobacco products, and receive its approval, before marketing them as such. The FDA cited evidence from a July congressional hearing that a Juul representative told students the company’s products were “much safer than cigarettes,” and that the agency would soon announce that they were “99 per cent safer.” Juul has 15 business days to respond to the FDA’s letter. Lisa Hutniak, director of communications for Juul in Canada, said the company has not promoted its products by comparing the health effects to those of other tobacco products. Companies require Health Canada’s approval to do so under the Tobacco and Vaping Act. (The Logic)

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Talking point: In Canada, Juul has backed some government proposals for stronger promotion restrictions, while opposing others. It supports Health Canada’s plan to ban vaping ads on social media, but said a rule against displaying them at check-out in stores would prevent the company from offering adult smokers an alternative to cigarettes. Juul has quoted Health Canada as saying, “Vaping is less harmful than smoking” in many of its Canadian press releases. That statement is drawn from an information page about vaping on the department’s website. The company has also cited a review by Public Health England that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than tobacco. Hutniak said the company does not believe the legislation’s promotion provisions apply to those statements. “Health Canada has taken a clear position on vaping products being less harmful than cigarettes,” she said. “We believe it’s important for adult smokers to be made aware of Health Canada’s public position on vaping.” Health Canada did not respond to a request for comment. Juul has engaged with policymakers in both the U.S. and Canada on vaping rules. As The Logic reported in August, Juul has registered 19 lobbyists across the federal and provincial governments as officials consider new restrictions on advertising and labelling, and bans on flavoured products.