Juul, the country's largest electronic cigarette maker announced Wednesday that it will stop running ads in the United States and that its CEO is stepping down.
The news comes weeks after the Food and Drug Administration reportedly asked Juul for any evidence or data to back up claims that Juul was making in its ads.
Doctors the NBC4 I-Team spoke with questioned the claims, asking if the ads imply that Juul can help people stop using cigarettes.
"If you're going to make a medical claim, we have laws about that," said Dr. Michael Ong, of the California Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee.
Ong said those laws would require clinical testing that Juul's vaping products haven't been subjected to.
"I do think that it's problematic and that it's going to be," Ong said. "It does need more scrutiny to be determined, Is this truly a medical claim or not?"
Juul said in a statement that it's "a switching product" and "not intended to be used as cessation products, including for the cure or treatment of nicotine addiction…"
Juul's decision to pull all digital, print and broadcast ads at this time comes from the company's newly appointed CEO.
In a statement released Wednesday, Juul says it will also stop lobbying and fully support a final policy from the federal government about e-cigarettes.
"…Incoming CEO K.C. Crosthwaite brings over two decades of global operational, management, stakeholder and regulatory engagement experience. As Chief Growth Officer at Altria Group Inc., he oversaw the company’s expansion into alternatives to combustible cigarettes and played a key role in the commercial and regulatory efforts related to the U.S. launch of IQOS. He also served as an observer on JUUL Labs’ board of directors. In his new role, Crosthwaite and the entire JUUL Labs leadership team will continue a broad review of the company’s practices and policies to ensure alignment with its aim of responsible leadership within the industry. Effective immediately, JUUL Labs announced the company is:
Suspending all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S.
Refraining from lobbying the Administration on its draft guidance and committing to fully support and comply with the final policy when effective…"
The moves follow confirmation of nine deaths connected to a mysterious vaping related disease, including one in Los Angeles.
There is still no direct connection between the deaths and any one vaping product but LA County and state health officials are warning people to immediately stop using e-cigarettes.