Juul’s checkered e-cigarette journey cut short by FDA ban

Juul e-cigarettes are seen on the counter of a vape store in Santa Monica

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Juul Labs Inc to stop selling its e-cigarettes in the United States on Thursday, saying the company’s data “lacked sufficient evidence” to show its products would be appropriate for the protection of public health.

The following are significant events in the checkered history of Juul Labs, which started under the name of Ploom Inc:

Date/Year Event

2007 Product Design graduates of Stanford University,

James Monsees and Adam Bowen, found Ploom Inc,

drawing from their thesis project on a new kind

of cigarette.

2012 Ploom introduces a line of vaporizers called

Pax, designed to heat up loose-leaf tobacco but

instead became enormously popular as discreet

devices for using cannabis.

2015 Ploom becomes Pax Labs after selling the rights

of its products to Japan Tobacco International,

an investor in the company.

2015 Pax Labs introduces Juul e-cigarette.

2017 Pax Labs spins out into a separate company,

leaving Juul Labs to focus on nicotine


Dec. 2017 Juul names former Chobani executive Kevin Burns

as its new chief executive.

April 2018 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it

has conducted an investigation of underage sales

of Juul products and writes to Juul requesting

documents around the marketing of its products.

April 2018 Juul announces it will take more decisive action

by supporting state and federal push to raise

the minimum age to 21+ to purchase tobacco


Sept. 2018 Then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb calls

teenage vaping an “epidemic,” tells Juul and

other e-cigarette makers they have 60 days to

submit plans on ways to combat youth use.

Nov. 2018 Juul announces plans to pull all flavors from

over 90,000 retail stores except tobacco, mint

and menthol; the FDA says it will craft similar

regulations around those flavors. (https://reut.rs/3yd7xTj)

Dec. 2018 Tobacco giant Altria Group invests $12.8 billion

in Juul, taking a 35% stake in Juul and valuing

the company at $38 billion. (https://reut.rs/3HMAZms)

Sept. 9, The FDA sends warning letter to Juul CEO over

2019 its unproven claims that its products pose less

harm than traditional cigarettes.

Sept. 11, Trump administration says it will ban the sale

2019 of most flavored e-cigarettes.

Sept. 25, CEO Kevin Burns steps down. Juul names former

2019 Altria executive KC Crosthwaite as CEO. Also

suspends all advertising in the U.S. and says it

will refrain from lobbying the Trump

administration. (https://reut.rs/3xSpFR0)(https://reut.rs/3zY5SCp)

Oct. 17, Juul suspends sale of its non-tobacco,

2019 non-menthol-based flavors Mango, Creme, Fruit

and Cucumber in the United States pending FDA

review. (https://reut.rs/3OFYEHD)

Oct. 31, Altria says it is writing down its investment in

2019 Juul by $4.5 billion, citing regulatory risks.


Nov. 12, Juul to cut nearly $1 billion in costs next

2019 year. (https://reut.rs/3NfoGjI)

Nov. 19, The state of California sues Juul, alleging the

2019 San Francisco company engaged in a “systematic”

and “wildly successful” campaign to woo

teenagers to its nicotine devices. (https://reut.rs/3HTgXGX)

Jan. 2, Trump administration bans some popular

2020 e-cigarette flavors including fruit and mint,

allowing only menthol and tobacco flavors to

remain on the market. (https://reut.rs/3bpKkEs)

Jan. 20, Altria takes a $4 billion charge on its

2020 investment in Juul, bringing down the value of

its investment to $4.2 billion as of the end of

2019. (https://reut.rs/3bh7flv)

Feb. 21, The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

2020 probes Altria’s investment in Juul. (https://reut.rs/3ncaPQM)

March 12, Juul announces co-founder James Monsees to leave

2020 the e-cigarette maker, stepping down as adviser

and board member. (https://reut.rs/3yeQpg6)

April 1, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission files a

2020 complaint to force Altria to sell its investment

in e-cigarette maker Juul. (https://reut.rs/3HMuT5y)

July 30, Juul Labs submits a Premarket Tobacco Product

2020 Application to the FDA for its JUUL System, an

electronic nicotine delivery system. (https://reut.rs/3bmzwqG)

Aug. 18, The FDA files Juul’s PMTA for substantive

2020 review.

Sept. 3, Juul says it will cut global workforce

2020 significantly and consider pulling out of some

European and Asia-Pacific markets. (https://reut.rs/3nctiwq)

Oct. 29, Juul cut its valuation to about $10 billion from

2020 $12 billion at the end of last year as it faces

regulatory scrutiny. (https://reut.rs/3bfVNq9)

Oct. 30, Altria takes another hit of $2.6 billion to its

2020 investment in Juul. Its stake is now worth $1.6

billion. (https://reut.rs/3QJxy3W)

Sept. 9, The FDA says it needs more time to decide if

2021 e-cigarette maker Juul and other major

manufacturers can sell products in the United


Feb. 15, A judge at the FTC dismisses a complaint that

2022 the agency filed aimed at requiring Altria to

sell a minority investment in Juul.

April 28, The FDA issues a proposal to ban menthol

2022 cigarettes and flavored cigars, a year after the

agency announced the plan.

June 22, Wall Street Journal reports the FDA is preparing

2022 to order Juul to take its e-cigarettes off the

U.S. market.

June 23, The FDA blocks Juul from selling its nicotine

2022 products in the United States, after a nearly

two-year-long review of data submitted by the


June 24, Juul asks a federal appeals court to temporarily

2022 block the FDA’s order to stop selling its

e-cigarettes in the United States, according to

a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the

D.C. Circuit.

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)