FDA seizes thousands of documents from e-cig startup Juul

E-cigarette maker Juul recently received a surprise visit from the Food and Drug Administration, CNBC first reported. Last week, the FDA seized thousands of documents from the startup’s headquarters, TechCrunch has confirmed.

The unannounced inspection of the startup’s headquarters on Friday was part of the FDA’s efforts to seek documentation related to Juul’s sales and marketing practices, according to the FDA.

“The purpose of these inspections was to determine compliance with all applicable FDA laws and regulatory requirements,” an FDA spokesperson told TechCrunch. “The new and highly disturbing data we have on youth use demonstrates plainly that e-cigarettes are creating an epidemic of regular nicotine use among teens. It is vital that we take action to understand and address the particular appeal of, and ease of access to, these products among kids.”

This comes after the FDA requested documents from the company in April as part of an inspection of Juul’s marketing practices toward minors. Juul, in a statement to TechCrunch, says it’s committed to preventing underage use and is wanting to engage with the FDA, lawmakers and public health advocates to ensure young people don’t use its products.

“The meetings last week with FDA gave us the opportunity to provide information about our business from our marketing practices to our industry-leading online age-verification protocols to our youth prevention efforts,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement to TechCrunch. “It was a constructive and transparent dialogue. We’ve now released over 50,000 pages of documents to the FDA since April that support our public statements. We look forward to presenting our plan to address youth access in the 60-day time frame as outlined by FDA. We want to be part of the solution in preventing underage use, and we believe it will take industry and regulators working together to restrict youth access.” 

Last month, the FDA ordered five companies — Juul being one of them — to outline within 60 days their plans to address underage use of their products. If those companies fail to meet the deadline, the FDA says it will pull its products from shelves.