Juul Ban, Afghan Quake, and America's Healthiest Communities Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Thursday, June 23, and we're covering a vaping giant's access to the US market, a deadly quake in Afghanistan, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Juul Ban Looms

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to ban e-cigarette maker Juul from the US market, according to reports yesterday. The move follows a nearly two-year review of the company's data surrounding the use of its vaping products, with an emphasis on e-cigarette use by underage consumers.


The company once controlled more than 75% of the US e-cigarette market, but came under fire on multiple fronts, including allegations it deliberately marketed its products to teenagers. The company denied targeting children and halted sales of all flavors except tobacco and menthol in 2019. Regulators previously cleared the way for two Juul competitors—Reynolds American Inc. and NJOY Holdings Inc.—to continue sales. 


Juul reported $1.3B in sales last year, almost entirely in the US market. Altria (maker of Marlboro cigarettes), which bought a 35% stake in Juul in 2018 valued at $12.8B, saw its stock drop 9%

Gas Tax Holiday

President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months through September, amid soaring gas prices that have reached around $5 per gallon.


The 18.4-cents-per-gallon gas tax (or 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel) is an excise added to the price consumers pay at the pump. Both federal and state governments impose gas taxes, using much of the revenue raised to fix roads and fund other infrastructure projects (see overview). Drivers may not reap the full benefits of a gas tax holiday—oil and gas companies, who collect and remit the tax to the government, would need to pass the savings on to consumers. 


Biden is also asking states to suspend their own gas taxes or offer similar relief (see state efforts). Economists and some lawmakers are skeptical of a gas tax holiday, saying it could inadvertently increase demand for fuel, while costing the government $10B in tax revenues.

Afghan Earthquake

At least 1,000 people were killed and more than 1,500 people were reportedly injured after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan early yesterday. The quake struck roughly 30 miles from the city of Khost, which lies along the border with Pakistan (see map). Officials expect the death toll to increase as search and rescue efforts proceed.


Despite being only a moderately strong seismic event—more than 100 earthquakes between 6.0 and 7.0 occur globally each year—it was Afghanistan's deadliest quake in two decades. Damage was most severe in the surrounding mountainous rural areas, where poorly built structures are particularly susceptible. The disaster is expected to strain the Taliban government, already dealing with economic collapse and famine, following the withdrawal of US forces last summer. 


Afghanistan sits along part of the Alpide belt, Earth's second-most seismically active region. Explore the world's tectonic boundaries here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with MUDWTR

> Colorado Avalanche take 3-1 series lead in Stanley Cup Final after edging Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in overtime (More) | The 2022 NBA Draft to be held tonight (8 pm ET, ABC and ESPN) from Brooklyn, New York; see full preview and mock draft (More)


> Jaylon Ferguson, Baltimore Ravens linebacker, dies at 26 (More) | Longtime NFL player, analyst, and TV personality Tony Siragusa dies at 55 (More)


> "Hair" cocreator and star James Rado dies at 90 (More) | Michael J. Fox to receive honorary Oscar for Parkinson's activism (More)

From our partners: Struggling in the morning? MUDWTR is a coffee alternative made with organic ingredients celebrated by people young and old for health and performance benefits. With a fraction of the caffeine found in coffee, you'll enjoy focus, energy, and immunity without the jitters, crashes, and dependency. Take 20% off with code 1440 to upgrade your mornings today.

Science & Technology

> Scientists see experimental evidence of the elusive tetraneutron, or four neutrons bound together absent other matter; transitory particle may shed light on neutron-neutron forces inside regular atoms (More)


> Breast cancer cells spread more efficiently during sleep, study finds; underlying causes not well-understood, though scientists say hormones such as testosterone and insulin may play a role (More)


> Environmental DNA analysis of the world's oceans reveals more than 40,000 organisms capable of producing chemical compounds for use in commercial products (More) | What is eDNA and how is it used? (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets end lower (S&P 500 -0.1%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq -0.2%) after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell testifies to Congress on inflation and the economy (More)


> Shares of cosmetics giant Revlon become latest “meme stock,” up over 300% in last week after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (More)


> JPMorgan is laying off hundreds of mortgage business employees amid cooling demand (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> House Jan. 6 Committee pushes next week's hearing schedule to July for more time to review new evidence; today's hearing will continue as planned (More)


> Former Tallahassee, Florida, Mayor Andrew Gillum, who ran for Florida governor in 2018, is indicted for campaign-related wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and making false statements (More) | Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) suffers hand injury, may require amputation (More)


> City of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota agrees to pay $3.25M to the family of Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by a now-convicted police officer during a traffic stop last year (More) | Uvalde,Texas, school police chief Pete Arredondo placed on administrative leave (More)



Dr. Con Man

Guardian | John Rasko, Carl Power. (From 2017) Last week, surgeon Paolo Macchiarini was found guilty of knowingly implanting defective artificial tracheas in patients. Read how the disgraced doctor put personal ambition over patients' lives. (Read)


Editor's note: ... and go deep into Macchiarini's long-running lethal scam in season three of the Dr. Death podcast.

Inside China's Eye

NYT | Staff. A yearlong investigation reveals China's ambitions to construct the most extensive and technologically advanced surveillance state in history—an effort meant to entrench its authoritarian government for decades to come. (Read)



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Historybook: Computer scientist Alan Turing born (1912); Track and field great Wilma Rudolph born (1940); Title IX enacted, banning gender discrimination in public education and sports (1972); RIP polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk (1995); The UK votes to leave the EU (2016).


"The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more."

- Jonas Salk

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