Jun 29 • 54M

A Long Drag on a Mango Juul Pod (w/ Lauren Etter)

On Dead Cat, we talk about Collision and the FDA's crackdown on Juul

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I got back from Collision, the 35,000-person tech conference in Toronto, Sunday night. Everyone is worried about falling valuations — but the tech world keeps on spinning.

Listen to this week’s episode of Dead Cat, Tom Dotan, Katie Benner, and I catch up, talk about my conference-going experience, and argue about what tech executive we’d most like to see as president. (Katie picks Tim Cook but I’m going with Jeff Bezos.)

Then, Tom and I talk with Bloomberg reporter Lauren Etter. She’s the author of The Devil’s Playbook. We discuss the FDA’s surprise decision to ban Juul starting at around 32:30.

Etter wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek:

In 2019 almost 30% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes, mostly Juul. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warned that e-cigarette use had become an “almost ubiquitous—and dangerous—trend among teens.” Since then, the portion of high school students vaping has dropped to 11%, and the most popular product is a newer entrant, Puff Bar, not Juul.

Yet it apparently wasn’t the company’s appeal to young people that led the agency to pull Juul off the market. A 2016 rule gave the FDA the authority to grant or deny “marketing orders” to e-cigarettes and other alternative tobacco products based on whether they met the standard of being “appropriate for the protection of the public health.” The agency found that Juul didn’t meet that standard because the company failed to provide sufficient evidence “to assess the potential toxicological risks of using the JUUL products”—even though Juul spent more than $150 million and hired an army of scientists to make its case.

On Friday, a federal court stayed the FDA’s ban to give Juul time to appeal.

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