SALT LAKE CITY — Mary Palmer remembers working at Smoke Break Huka Outlet on the day JUUL products first hit the shelves.
“I was actually hired, like, right when the Juul craze was like really big I remember lines literally out the door.”
The popular e-cigarette's products are now banned in the United States.
The company originally said the product was a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes for those already addicted; the FDA has accused JUUL Labs of marketing the product to young people.
The news spread fast at Smoke Break, said Palmer.
“Somebody came in here and bought everything," she said. "It was over $1,000 worth of product, and so it's already gone off our shelves.”
Palmer isn't shocked at the FDA's decision, she said.
“All their ads featured young, hot people being really trendy and cool," said Palmer.
Soon you won't be able to find Juul products on any store shelves, but this isn't the end for e-cigarettes; the ban is just for the one popular brand.
“Juul was, like, a huge thing a few years ago," said Palmer. "And since then, lots of other things have taken its place.”
Still, doctors like Dr. Sean Callahan, a University of Utah pulmonologist, see this as a huge win.
“They've been so aggressive about marketing to young people, whether they care to admit it or not," he said. "They got slapped on the wrist by the FDA today.”
The long-term side effects of e-cigarettes are still unclear, Dr. Callahan can already see what it’s done to kids.
“If you're a young person and you're sick all the time, you're not going to do well in school," he said. "You can't carry a job very easily. You may be using a bunch of inhalers. You may be in and out of the doctor's office a lot, and that's not an ideal way to live if you're 20 years old.”
Here in Utah, where cigarette use is relatively low compared to the rest of the U.S., Callahan has seen more young people vaping than he would have ever expected.
For anyone looking to quit smoking or break nicotine addiction, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get immediate help.