Juul stops selling flavored e-cigarette pods, kills social media accounts

Juul Labs

The e-cigarette United States market leader Juul announced on Tuesday it will pull popular flavors such as mango, cucumber and various other fruits from retail store shelves in an effort to reduce surging teenage use of its products.

Juul said it will stop selling flavours except for tobacco, mint and menthol in all retail outlets, including convenience stores and vape shops, until retailers can install technology that scans buyers' IDs to independently verify they are aged 21 or older.

Just days after reports that the Food and Drug Administration is planning to propose further restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes, the maker of Juul announced Tuesday it is taking steps to curtail the use of its flavored products by teens.

Some of Juul's early social media and YouTube videos included images of attractive young people using the product.

Juul's success has also made it a target of regulators who say the company's sales are driven by teens, who think sucking on a Juul is cool and fun.

"We don't want anyone who doesn't smoke, or already use nicotine, to use Juul products", CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement. Purchasers will have to provide their name, date of birth, permanent address and the last four digits of their social security number to get the flavored pods.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted about Juul's action plan on Tuesday, saying: "We're deeply concerned about the epidemic of youth use of e-cigs". It's expressed concerns that Juul was luring in underage customers. Juul said it will no longer take orders from retailers.

Juul has grabbed significant USA market share over the past year, growing from 13.6 per cent of the market in early 2017 to almost 75 per cent now, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen retail data. The products being targeted are: Juul, MarkTen by the Altria Group, the maker of Malboro cigarettes in the US, Blu by Fontem Ventures, Vuse by British American Tobacco, the company that makes Camel cigarettes, and a device called Logic. The company added it would strengthen age verification for online sales.

The appeal of e-cigarettes to teens is widespread and has raised alarms in other countries, including the UK. The move aims to decrease underage access to vaping products, though these flavors aren't going entirely away: they'll still be available through the company's website, but age verification will be required for purchases.

The new policy applies to flavored cartridge-style vaping products like Juul that have become popular among youths, not the open tank-style systems sold in vape shops and mostly used by adults, FDA officials said.

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