The Food and Drug Administration is set to ban Juul e-cigarettes from being sold in the United States, according to a report.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the FDA could announce the decision as soon as Wednesday.
The agency had been investigating Juul for the past two years while the company sought approval to continue selling its nicotine pods.
Juul landed in hot water some four years ago when its flavored e-cigarettes, which were touted at the time as a carcinogen-free and healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, were being blamed for a surge in youth vaping.
The company tried to appease federal regulators by banning their sweet and fruit-flavored products.
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the US against the company, which was accused of targeting underage smokers with their flavored products.
Since its e-cigs and other similar vaping products came to market, scores of people have died and thousands have been hospitalized nationwide for various lung ailments that medical and health officials blame on vaping.
Health advocacy groups like the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have lobbied the FDA to bar Juul from selling its products.
Juul burst onto the scene shortly after its founding in 2015. The next year, it sold 2.2 million devices. In 2017, it sold 16.2 million devices.
By 2018, the company was valued at $15 billion. That same year, it had a market share of 75%.
In December 2018, Altria, one of the world’s largest cigarette manufacturers and the maker of popular brands including Marlboro, paid $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in Juul, which was generating an annual revenue of around $2 billion.
Since then, Juul has lost considerable market share as lawsuits have piled up and more Americans have been made aware of the dangers of vaping.
In October 2019, Altria wrote down $4.5 billion of the investment it made in Juul. The next year, Altria slashed Juul’s valuation to $10 billion.
By March of last year, the valuation was slashed to $4.3 billion. Earlier this year, it was cut again to $1.6 billion.