In 2018, Juul Labs Inc. had announced its plans to stop selling most of its flavoured nicotine liquids in bricks-and-mortar stores. The e-cig manufacturer had said that it would keep on selling only menthol and tobacco-flavored products in stores, and that all the other flavours would remain available for sale on its website, which has age-verification controls in place.
Meanwhile after facing an incessant amount of scrutiny from the FDA and being on the receiving end of a number of lawsuits claiming that their products are especially appealing and addictive to minors, the manufacturer has set in place a number of measures to prevent teen access to their products.
Additionally, in response to last month’s announcement by the Trump administration that all flavoured vaping products will be banned, Juul decided to be proactive and also stopped selling its flavoured pods online, leaving only its mint, menthol and tobacco flavoured nicotine pods available for sale.
Mint is adolescents’ new favourite flavour
While 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of eighth graders admitted that they vape, over half of both groups said they use Juul.
However, newly released data by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, found that teenagers surveyed in 2019 preferred mint and mango Juul flavours. Of these two flavours, Mint was the most popular amongst 10th- and 12th-grade Juul users and the second most popular amongst eighth-grade users. Additionally, of the surveyed students, 18% reported recent e-cigarette use, with nearly 13% saying they use Juul.
To this effect, last week Juul announced that it will now also ban mint pods, leaving only menthol and its two tobacco flavoured products for sale. “These results are unacceptable and that is why we must reset the vapor category in the U.S. and earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with regulators, attorneys general, public health officials and other stakeholders to combat underage use,” said K.C. Crosthwaite, Juul’s newly appointed CEO.
Juul dominates the vape market
Meanwhile, one of the studies published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) also highlighted that non-surprisingly found that Juul still dominates the e-cigarette market amongst minors. While 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of eighth graders reported that they vape, over half of both groups said they use Juul.
In response to this, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said that this data indicates that any measures to prevent teen access set in place by Juul Labs are not working, and that therefore their products should just be taken off the market. “It’s very clear that Juul can’t keep their products out of the hands of kids,” said Gottlieb. “What’s driving the youth use is primarily Juul.
“You’ve hooked a lot of kids,” he added. “Kids now, it’s become sort of fashionable and they like the form and fashion of this product. It could be that this product can’t exist on the market anymore.”
Meanwhile last September, the Trump administration announced that plans to ban flavoured vaping products were underway. Subsequently, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, confirmed the plans last month, when in response to an announcement by Juul that it would stop selling the flavoured products, he said that this move would not affect the administration’s plans in anyway. “We want anything that’s attractive to kids to not be available for kids,” he said, “It doesn’t stop what the president and I are working on.”
According to sources familiar with the plan, an announcement was expected earlier this month, and the ban was meant to apply to all flavours with the exception of tobacco and menthol flavours. However, recent comments by Trump are pointing towards a change in strategy.
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