BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Thursday, the FDA ordered all Juul products marketed in the United States to be taken off store shelves, or face enforcement action. On Friday, a court blocked the FDA ban temporarily. There is still a threat to high-nicotine Juul products, but whether the full ban will uphold is still under review.

Prior to the FDA’s ban being blocked, 12 News talked to a health professional as well as the owner of The Vaping in Bridgeport to get their thoughts; both parties seemed to be in favor of the e-cigarette ban.

The Vaping is a family-owned business that was established in 2015. Current owner and ex-smoker Dina Stout described her business as somewhere people can go to educate themselves on vaping. She said she sees the ban on Juuls as unfortunate but ultimately beneficial.

The Vaping in Bridgeport

“It’s hard to see any business attacked…but in the same token, if you own a vape shop and care about your customers, you don’t want them vaping 50 nic, 50 nic is very high,” Stout said. “No one needs 50 nic. No one. Basically, if you look on our shelves, the highest we go is like a 12, and then you step down from that.”

Nicotine in vape juice is measured in a ratio of milligrams to milliliters. Juuls are rated at 50 nic, which means there are 50 milligrams of nicotine for every milligram of liquid. This means that in every Juul pod, about 5% of the liquid is nicotine. Five percent may not sound like a lot, but compared to other vape juices that usually range from .6% to 3%, Juul products end up being much stronger, with one Juul pod containing about as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

Brad Bailey, a manager at The Vaping, said Juul’s marketing campaign is not the best for consumers. Juul was sued by the state of Massachusetts in 2020 for allegedly targeting children in their advertisements, and buying advertisement space on websites geared towards children.

“The whole idea behind vaping was about harm reduction, and helping people to quit cigarettes and lower that nicotine intake,” Bailey said. “When you go into devices like Juul, you’re not lowering that nicotine intake. It’s just extremely high.”

Bailey and Stout both agree that Juul’s ease of access is a problem, especially for teens, and could easily be found in gas stations or convenience stores.

“If you go to a school, and you look in anybody’s [bag], that’s number one, only because it’s easily achievable. They can go to any local convenience store, have a friend of a friend, and purchase it,” Stout said.

12 News also spoke with Frankie Tack, an assistant professor at West Virginia University who specializes in nicotine dependence and smoking cessation.

“I think it’s a great thing,” she said about the ban. “Juul has been a real problem, especially with teens, so I’m ecstatic about this and I hope we’ll see more limitations coming for the other vaping products,” Tack said.

Tack said that when it comes to drugs and addictive substances, “it’s like playing wack-a-mole.” For example, after the FDA banned sweet and fruity e-cigarette pods in 2020, another e-cigarette brand called Puff Bar used synthetic nicotine in their devices and was able to continue selling these flavors using a loophole in the legislation.

The U.S.’s battle against nicotine addiction isn’t just limited to e-cigarettes, however, with the Biden administration formulating plans to limit nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes in an attempt to make them less addictive.

Another reality, Tack said, is companies selling their e-cigarette products overseas where there are fewer restrictions.