Juul CEO says vaping-relating illnesses are ‘worrisome’ – but denies his product is at fault despite nearly 200 cases of severe lung damage
- Juul CEO Kevin Burns spoke about vaping-related illnesses on CBS This Morning
- He called the nearly 200 reported cases ‘worrisome’
- Burns promised ‘swift action’ if a problem was found with Juul
- He said Juul is working with the CDC’s investigation but say there aren’t ‘facts’ to suggest the company needs to pause sales of its e-cigarettes
Juul CEO Kevin Burns admitted that the nearly 200 lung illnesses linked to vaping reported in the US are ‘worrisome’ in a Wednesday interview.
Speaking on CBS This Morning, Burns said he does not yet believe Juul’s products are to blame.
He defended his product and said Juul is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is investigating the spate of severe lung illnesses.
‘If there was any indication that there was an adverse health condition related to our product, I think we would take swift action,’ Burns said – but claimed the ‘facts’ don’t suggest that, despite claims made by many vaping patients that they used Juul.
Juul CEO Kevin Burns called severe luyng illnesses linked to vaping ‘worrisome’ but denied that there were ‘facts’ to prove Juul is to blame, despite patient reports that they used the devices
The series of illnesses reported in 30 states is ‘worrisome for the category [of e-cigarettes] and worrisome for us, if we’re contributing it,’ Burns told CBS’s Tony Dokoupil.
Juul had captured 70 percent of the US e-cigarette market by October 2018, according to Nielson.
But for the last couple of years the company has been slammed for marketing its products to youth and teenagers, triggering raids of its headquarters, warning letters, and forcing Juul’s hand to remove sweet-flavored e-liquids from stores.
Now the FDA is demanding that the Juul Labs hand over not only information about its marketing practices, but documents disclosing whatever health testing it did – or did not – perform before selling its e-cigarettes.
Doctors are not yet sure how e-cigarettes are triggering severe lung illnesses that present like pneumonia, but the patients, many of whom are teenagers or young adults, all reported using e-cigarettes in the last year.
One of them, Chance Ammirata, 18, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that he had only ever used a Juul.
Burns is not convinced that Juul is involved.
‘The CDC is investigating and we’re obviously in close contact with them [because] we want to make sure we have access to the information so that if there is any issue related to us…we want to get to the root cause,’ he told Dokooupil.
‘[At this point] I don’t know if it’s tied to vaping even nicotine products – most of the reports are related to THC [sic] that have any specifics.’
In a statement about the first death linked to vaping, the CDC said ‘vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavorings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents.’
When asked why Juul had not pulled its products from shelves or ‘paused’ manufacturing, Burns said they would if was it necessary.
But he his company has no intention of doing so ‘until we see some facts.’