The Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce the order as early as Wednesday
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Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation's largest maker of vaping products, are offered for sale at the Smoke Depot on September 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois
Credit: Scott Olson/Getty

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce plans to order Juul Labs Inc., the largest e-cigarette manufacturer, to take their products off the U.S. market as early as Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal

"This clearly comes as a surprise to the market ... we would expect that Juul would appeal the decision, and remain on the market through that process, which would likely take a year or more," Cowen analyst Vivien Azer told Reuters.

The order would follow nearly two years since the FDA began its review of data from Juul as it sought authorization for its products to remain on the market, per the WSJ.

Juul, whose products make up 40% of the e-cigarette market, has been highly criticized in recent years for the increasing use of its nicotine products by teenagers. In September, the company claimed they were "committed to transitioning adult smokers away from combustible cigarettes while combating underage use."

Months prior, Juul was ordered to pay $40 million to the state of North Carolina for marketing its product to teens. Attorney General Josh Stein said in a July statement that "JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette," adding, "It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children – one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina."

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A woman using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Only two years ago e-cigarettes were viewed as holding great potential for public health: offering a way to wean smokers off traditional cigarettes. But now Juul and other vaping companies face an escalating backlash that threatens to sweep their products off the market Vaping Backlash Smokers, Mayfield Heights, USA - 04 Oct 2019
Credit: Tony Dejak/AP/Shutterstock

The country's vaping epidemic has caused teens to suffer serious lung and kidney issues, with some coming close to death after experiencing illnesses caused by vaping. According to the FDA,  flavored e-cigarettes are "extremely popular among youth, with over 80% of e-cigarette users ages 12 through 17 using them."

Juul, who previously sold e-cigarette products in flavors like cool cucumber and crème brûlée, pulled its flavored vape pods from the U.S. market in 2019. 

At the time, the company's CEO Kevin Burns stepped down amid growing backlash against vaping. He was replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, an executive at the tobacco company Altria, which owns a 35 percent stake in Juul.

The company also said that it would stop all print, broadcast and digital advertisements in the U.S., including its "Make the Switch" campaign promoting Juul as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, a claim that the Food and Drug Administration said was illegal.