By Kelsey Kushner

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A popular cigarette has been ripped from the store shelves.

The FDA has banned Juul Labs from selling e-cigarettes in stores.

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The government has been investigating the company for nearly two years.

It claims that Juul Labs contributed to a surge in young people using its products.

This is a major step to reverse that trend.

But the decision to deny the company’s application to sell its e-cigarettes in the United States and pull the products off of the shelves is getting mixed reviews.

Richard Hansen of Baltimore told WJZ that he thinks the decision to ban Juul Labs’ products is “a good thing.”

“I see a lot of kids who get addicted to nicotine through using Juul products,” he said.

Joel Santiago of Baltimore agrees with the government’s move to curb addiction.

“I’m for the ban,” Santiago said. “But the question is how is it going to be effective?”

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says he believes that Juul Labs has helped a generation of kids become addicted to nicotine.

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“If we’re going to continue to make the progress in reducing youth cigarette smoking and e-cigarette smoking, this decision is a critical next step,” he said.

Teen e-cigarette use skyrocketed more than 70% after Juul Lab’s launch in 2015, which used marketing and social media campaigns that appealed to young people.

But the company maintains that its advertisements did not deliberately target teens.

In 2019, sales dropped after the company was pressured into halting all advertising and eliminating fruit and dessert flavors.

This left only menthol and tobacco flavors.

In 2020, Baltimore County filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging the e-cigarette maker intentionally marketed its products to children and spread deceptive information.

Baltimore County joined five other Maryland jurisdictions, Montgomery, Howard, Frederick, Garrett, and Anne Arundel counties.

Baltimore County officials alleged that the county was forced to divert resources to protect public health.

Juul Labs allegedly used advertising techniques long-banned for tobacco products, including using bright, fun themes that attract young people. They also ran advertisements on websites including Nick Junior and Cartoon Network, according to the lawsuit.

Hansen, who occasionally vapes, says the ban is an important first step toward correcting a pattern of impact.

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“I think maybe it will make a dent slightly and it will discourage some of the other bad actors in the vaping industry,” he said.

Kelsey Kushner