Juul Survives a Blow From the FDA—for Now

Can you Currently purchase a Juul e-cigarette? That depends upon what day of the week it’s. 

Earlier this week the FDA denied advertising and marketing authorization for Juul, which first began promoting its e-cigarettes in 2015 (although it has operated beneath varied firm names since 2007). The FDA mentioned the reason for the denial was that Juul “failed to provide sufficient toxicology data to demonstrate the products were safe,” ArsTechnica reviews, and as such the company couldn’t full its toxicology evaluation. The FDA particularly pointed to “potentially harmful chemicals leaching from the company’s proprietary e-liquid pods” as a concern.

However, Juul pushed again—and secured a momentary win. In a court docket submitting submitted to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, Juul known as the FDA ban “arbitrary and capricious” and prompt the company was succumbing to stress from Congress. The federal appeals court docket then determined to dam the FDA order, till it may possibly hear extra arguments on the challenge. 

The FDA’s denial and the subsequent keep are simply the newest developments in a years-long battle between regulators and Juul. Back in 2018, the FDA launched an investigation into gross sales of Juul merchandise to underage shoppers, requested advertising and marketing supplies from the firm, and demanded that the firm submit a plan for thwarting gross sales to teenagers. The following yr, the FDA despatched a warning letter to Juul over its claims that vapes have been much less dangerous than conventional cigarettes. At some level, fruity-flavored e-cigarette pods have been banned in the US.

The newest ban, if it ever goes into impact, would apply to the Juul gadget itself, a glossy vaping pen, and to 4 particular liquid cartridges, all of that are tobacco-flavored or menthol-flavored—people who mimic the flavors of conventional cigarettes. The denial from the FDA got here simply a couple days after the company mentioned it might additionally restrict the quantity of nicotine allowed in actual cigarettes offered in the US.

Here’s some extra information.

Instagram’s Age Crackdown

On Thursday, Instagram introduced that it’ll introduce new instruments for verifying users’ ages on the platform. When a person modifications their start date to place them over or beneath the age of 18, Instagram will now require them to confirm the change. This means both importing an ID, getting mutual pals to vouch for you, or importing a selfie video. The latter choice is being provided by means of partnership with the digital recognition firm Yoti, which then scans the video selfie with its facial recognition tech to estimate the particular person’s age.

Instagram says its purpose is to tailor the app differently for teens and adults, and make sure that these experiences are distinct. Despite these said noble intentions, the transfer nonetheless makes privacy and AI experts nervous. After all, Instagram’s mother or father firm, Meta, has a lengthy historical past of data-sharing and privateness lapses.

For now, Instagram is testing the age verification requirement solely with customers in the US.

Microsoft Ditches Controversial Emotion-Detecting AI

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Microsoft will remove features from its Azure cloud computing platform that use facial recognition software program to trace the bodily attributes and even feelings of individuals in photos. It’s been a controversial characteristic, criticized for its potential to be each biased and inaccurate.

Microsoft’s no stranger to doubtful moral conditions. In 2018 it got here beneath hearth for utilizing the Azure platform to work with ICE, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement program. But now, Microsoft appears desirous to get out forward of the criticism. The transfer to reign in Azure got here as a part of Microsoft’s newly launched Responsible AI Standard, a doc it says will information the approach the firm makes use of AI in its merchandise.

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