MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University researchers are praising the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban on Juul vaping products as a move that is especially good for Appalachians but said without follow-up measures, it could prove “futile”.

WVU School of Medicine Section Chief of Pulmonary/Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Dr. Sunil Sharma said his research suggests e-cigarette users in rural Appalachia tend to develop worse lung injuries than those who live in urban areas.

That study was published in “Hospital Practice” last April. It followed a consecutive case series of 17 patients admitted to rural, academic, tertiary care institutions with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) from August 2019 to March 2020 and concluded that patients in rural Appalachia presented with relatively severe respiratory failure.

The median age of patients in this study was 33, compared to 23 in a large national study, as well as a higher amount of illicit drug use in the rural study.

Sharma also said adults may become more likely to use e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, not realizing the dangers since, according to Sharma, most regulatory agencies’ warnings have targeted teenagers, including the ban on fruit and mint e-liquid flavors.

When the FDA announced its ban on Juul products, it said it believed the company may have played a “disproportionate″ role in the rise in teen vaping.

Mark Olfert, a faculty member in the WVU Center for Inhalation Toxicology and professor of exercise physiology in the WVU School of Medicine, pointed out that there are many other e-cigarette manufacturers that are not impacted by the FDA’s ban.

“If the only outcome here is the demise of Juul, we can expect history to show it was a futile effort to protect American citizens,” Olfert said.

A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the FDA’s ban on Friday after Juul filed an emergency motion asking for a temporary hold while it appeals the sales ban.