Vaping firm Juul reassures customers as lung disease fears grow

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Juul is seeking to reassure customers. Photo: The Columbus Dispatch/TNS/Sipa USA

A senior figure at e-cigarette giant Juul has sought to reassure customers as concerns grow about the health effects of vaping.

Hundreds of cases of lung disease including several deaths are being investigated by regulators in the US. Some vapers were found to have oil-like substances in their lungs.

A US governor even announced a ban on vaping product sales in Massachusetts on Tuesday, declaring a public health emergency after dozens of lung disease cases emerged with a suspected link to vaping.

Grant Winterton, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) president of JUUL, sent an email to customers on Wednesday saying the company was “closely following” the reports.

READ MORE: How vaping has caught on ‘like wildfire’ among young US teens

But Winterton said: “To date, reporting has suggested that many patients were vaping THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis, and there is the suggestion of some involvement of vitamin E acetate.

“Please be reassured that JUUL Labs products do not contain THC, or any compound derived from cannabis and we do not use vitamin E compounds in any of our products.”

He added that product quality and consumer safety were Juul’s “highest priorities,” with products labelled with ingredients and health warnings.

But he also urged customers to check they were buying “authentic” Juul products from trusted retailers.

Winterton also said the benefits of vaping as an alternative to normal cigarettes had been recognised by several European health authorities.

READ MORE: Top UK vaping firm attacks government over cuts to smoking support services

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of UK charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said on Tuesday incidents in the US appeared to be linked to illicit drugs.

“Vapers should not be scared back to smoking by the news of vaping illness in the US,” she said.

“Nothing like this has been seen in the UK to date, where a proper regulatory system is in place for nicotine containing e-cigarettes, which is not yet the case in the US.”

It came as the charity released survey figures showing vaping is more popular than ever in the UK, with 12.5% growth in the past year.

An estimated 3.6 million people now vape in Britain, with 35- to 44-year-olds the most likely age group to use e-cigarettes.

Ann McNeill, a King’s College London academic who led a UK government review of e-cigarettes, also said on Tuesday: “Vaping isn’t risk free, but it’s much less risky than smoking, which kills nearly 100,000 people a year in the UK.”