RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County-based Altria says it is “disappointed” in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to order Juul, a vape company the tobacco giant spent $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in, to pull its e-cigarette products from the U.S. market.
Altria Group, the country’s largest cigarette maker, invested in Juul in 2018. The FDA’s order, issued Thursday, calls for Juul to end the sale of its vaping device and methanol and tobacco flavored pre-filled cartridges and remove the ones on the market.
Public health standards require e-cigarette companies to prove that products for sale benefit public health. In its order, the FDA said Juul failed to provide “sufficient evidence regarding the toxicological profile of the products” showing they were safe for public use.
An Altria spokesperson said the company still believes that e-vapor products can play a vital part in harm reduction for adults. Altria did not make anyone available for an interview Thursday, instead sharing a comment with 8News about the FDA’s decision.
“We are disappointed with today’s decision and continue to believe that e-vapor can play an important role in harm reduction for adult smokers,” David Sutton, a spokesman for Altria, wrote in an email to 8News.
Shares of Altria, one of the largest employers in Richmond, plunged by 9% on Wednesday following a report from The Wall Street that the FDA was planning on moving forward with the ban of Juul products. But the stock has ticked up Thursday.
Federal health officials and regulators have pointed to Juul for playing a major role in the rise of youth vaping in the U.S. Joe Murillo, Juul’s chief regulatory officer, said in a statement that the vape company would appeal the FDA’s decision.
“We respectfully disagree with the FDA’s findings and decision and continue to believe we have provided sufficient information and data based on high-quality research to address all issues raised by the agency,” Murillo said.
You can read the FDA’s decision and the specific products that have been ordered for removal here.