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On June 24th, the public health community celebrated a major win in the decades-long battle to prevent youth tobacco use. The e-cigarette brand Juul—one of the leading culprits behind the meteoric rise in youth vaping, according to the CDC—was effectively banned in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration, and all of their products are to be stripped from shelves across the nation. 

At its peak, Juul products accounted for a whopping 70% of all e-cigarette sales in the country. Their marketing appealed to kids of all ages with candy and fruit flavors, a sleek (and easily concealable) device shaped like a USB flash drive, and targeted advertisements that were especially appealing to young people.

CATCH My Breath was one of the first e-cigarette prevention programs in existence when it launched in 2016, and is now one of the most widely used school-based vaping prevention programs in the world. As the program was first gaining traction across the nation, we were hearing the same question over and over from schools and departments of health: Does your program include Juul? You see, their products were so popular, they had spawned their own vocabulary. Kids didn’t consider themselves to be using e-cigarettes; they were simply “Juuling.”

So, we realized we had to amend the program description to clarify that CATCH My Breath was for “e-cigarette and Juul prevention.” We even updated our logo.

In the years that followed, CATCH My Breath played a major role in pulling back the curtain on Juul’s deceptive marketing, informing and empowering youth, and no doubt contributed to a steady decline in popularity, which has led us to this historic announcement from the FDA.

We are extremely proud to have been a part of this major public health win, but it is first and foremost a win for, and by, young people. Teen advocates across the nation—including the members of our Youth Advisory Board— stood up bravely, and loudly, to face this epidemic and they won.

There’s still a long road ahead, as many young people have moved on from Juul to other copycat products that utilize an FDA loophole to continue to market fruity flavors, but this is undoubtedly a historic day and worthy of celebration.