Even during the sluggish summer months in a college town, Aj’s Liquor in Ames sells about 160 Juul pods a week to customers between the ages of 21 and 24.

But convenience store shelves could be stripped of Juul products, depending on a ruling by the US Food and Drug Administration regarding product safety.

Will Montgomery, sales representative for Aj’s Liquor, said customers are already switching to alternative brands for nicotine products as the FDA considers a marketing denial order against Juul. Even if the ban is successful, Montgomery said he doesn’t expect sales of electronic nicotine delivery systems to decline.

“People are still going to crave nicotine,” Montgomery said.

Federal action against Juul

The FDA has issued a temporary hold on its proposed distribution ban for Juul Labs to allow for further review. The suspension does not mean that the administration cancels the order.

On June 23, the FDA announced a marketing denial order against Juul, finding that the company presented insufficient information to determine potential health risks.

The following day, the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a temporary administrative stay of the market refusal order. Juul Labs would have been forced to stop selling and distributing Juul pods. Any company selling Juul products would have been forced to remove the products from its shelves or face enforcement action.

After the order, Juul Labs released a statement disagreeing with the FDA’s conclusion and stating that Juul products “meet the legal standard of being appropriate for the protection of public health”. Juul Labs chief regulatory officer Joe Murillo said the company would consider appealing the decision and engaging with regulators.

“We remain committed to doing everything in our power to continue to serve the millions of American adult smokers who have successfully used our products to move away from combustible cigarettes, which remain available on market shelves nationwide. national,” Murillo said.

Taylor Boland, director of communications for Kum & Go, said all Kum & Go stores stopped selling all Juul products on June 23, but resumed sales after the federal court blockade.

“Kum & Go remains committed to selling age-restricted products responsibly and to complying with local, state and federal laws, ordinances and mandates,” Boland said in an email response to Iowa Capital. dispatch.

Who uses nicotine products

The marketing denial order does not extend to individual possession or use. The FDA does not intend to enforce a ban against individual use. While Juul markets its product as a resource to help smokers quit, the FDA has restricted sales of fruit and mint flavored cartridges to target minors.

Iowa has also taken steps to prevent teens from vaping. In 2019, Governor Kim Reynolds raised state minimum age to buy tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21. A study 2018 from the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Division found that e-cigarette use doubled from 2016 to 2018.

In 2021, 24% of 11th graders and 10% of eighth graders have tried some form of vaping product, according to the Iowa Youth Survey report. The Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Division works with local community partnerships to share information about all forms of tobacco, including vaping devices.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has proposed legislation in 2020 to expand the Iowa Smoke-Free Air Act to include vaping – banning e-cigarette use in public spaces. The legislation has been recommended by a human resources sub-committee in the Senate, but it went no further.

Customers are turning to other brands

Montgomery said the majority of customers who buy Juuls don’t use them to quit smoking. If they were, they would buy low-nicotine products, he said.

Payton Hartz started vaping at the age of 18 when his friend bought him a vape pen. Before that, he had never smoked. Hartz switched Juul when he was 19 because of the convenience of the products. After Juul limited its flavors, Hartz switched to another disposable vape brand.

The potential ban has “opened the door for other businesses to move forward,” Hartz said. “I feel like disposable vapes didn’t exist before the Juul really came along. I feel like with the laws, all they really did was push more companies to be on par with Juul.

The retailer intentionally avoids Juul

Juul products are not for sale at Central Iowa Vapors because they want to avoid selling products containing diacetyl and other harmful ingredients to customers, said sales associate Gavin Watts. If a product does not comply with FDA regulations, Central Iowa Vapors pulls it from shelves, Watts said.

“Fundamentally, we don’t want to offer products that have harmful effects on customers…to give customers another way to vape without any of the health flaws,” Watts said.

Watts said about 75% of customers vaped to quit smoking, and about half of those consumers were between the ages of 21 and 24. attempt to purchase nicotine products.

“The biggest problem with this is underage people getting it and then causing a problem,” Watts said. “Because in high school or college, it’s like a cancerous spread. We feel it is our responsibility to ensure that this does not happen, at least on our behalf.