The choice of whether to vape(or use any related nicotine products) is not a matter of personal freedom. Katy Moncivais, Ph.D., Medical Editor from Consumer Safety found that Juul delivers nicotine, the highly addictive substance found in tobacco and most cigarettes, 2.7 times more quickly than other e-cigarette companies. Julia Belluz from Vox continued that one Juul “pod” (the device unit the product comes in) contains as much nicotine as two packs of traditional cigarettes. Leah Campbell from Healthline concluded that Juul’s addictive potential is extremely high, especially among teens. It is uncontestable to claim that Juul Labs, the company that invented and manufactures Juul products, not only failed to bring down addiction risks for the over 1 billion smokers around the world but also poses a greater risk for new smokers. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, addiction is defined as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance.” Clearly, individuals addicted to nicotine products purchase the product out of necessity, not by choice. Thus, the existence of Juul is not an exercise of personal freedom, but rather an infringement of such. Like any other company that does not comply with industry standards or poses a public health risk, Juul should be subject to regulation and have its sales halted by the Food and Drug Administration.
The risk of a potential Prohibition-Era repeat is also not a threat in this scenario. The Food and Drug Administration did not choose to terminate the entire electronic-cigarette industry. In fact, it did not even permanently stop Juul from making its products, the order was merely an order asking Juul to temporarily halt its sale of products pending further investigation. The threat of a growing illegal market for Juul products is also minimal, as plenty of companies, ranging from startups to established tobacco companies have already started emulating Juul products. The Truth Initiative observes that 90% of Juul purchases have been made in “brick and mortar stores”(as opposed to online or other forms of commerce). Thus the temporarily-halted FDA order has an extremely low likelihood of jumpstarting a massive black market for Juul products. Additionally considering the fact that the majority of Juul users are minors, a supposed pivot toward illegal marketplaces would be all but realistic.
The role of the Food and Drug Administration as stated on its website is to be “responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices.” A temporary halt on Juul product sales is in no way a violation of this purpose and reaffirms the administration’s commitment to public safety protection.