The e-cigarette debate in the US took a new twist Tuesday as the US Food and Drug Administration showed up at start-up firm Juul's headquarters in Silicon Valley to seize "thousands of pages" of marketing material.
The vape firm is the e-cigarette market leader with about 73% of the share in the US and has been at the centre of the FDA's attention this year as e-cigarette use soars among teens.
The raid today was a surprise one for Juul, whose headquarters are in San Francisco.
Conventional cigarette- making global giants like British American Tobacco (LON:BATS) and Altria Group (NYSE:MO) saw shares rise in recent weeks as the FDA threatened to pull certain electronic cigarettes from the shelves if firms like Juul did not address concerns around teenage use.
The inspection today "sought further documentation related to Juul's sales and marketing practices, among other things," the FDA reportedly said in a statement.
Juul chief executive Kevin Burns said the company had walked the FDA through "every part" of its business.
E-cigarettes have become something of a craze among high school teenagers, of which about 20% are users. But opponents say it has led to a large rise in teen nicotine use after years of cigarette smoking among teens dropping to record lows.