No more mint

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAU­RIE MCGINLEY lau­[email protected]­post.com

Juul is halt­ing sales of the e-cig­a­rette fla­vor af­ter new data showed its pop­u­lar­ity among un­der­age vapers.

E-cig­a­rette maker Juul Labs Inc. an­nounced Thurs­day it is halt­ing sales of its pop­u­lar mint-fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes in the United States in re­sponse to new ev­i­dence of its ap­peal to kids.

The move comes amid ex­pec­ta­tions the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is close to ban­ning nearly all fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes, ex­cept for men­thol and to­bacco.

Juul has been widely crit­i­cized by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and health groups for fu­el­ing the sharp in­crease in youth vap­ing that health of­fi­cials de­scribe as an epi­demic. The com­pany has re­peat­edly de­nied mar­ket­ing its prod­ucts to mi­nors.

Mint ac­counts for about 70 per­cent of Juul’s sales in the United States, com­pared with 20 per­cent for to­bacco-fla­vored vapes and 10 per­cent for men­thol, ac­cord­ing to sales fig­ures. Juul stopped sell­ing its pop­u­lar mango, fruit, creme and cu­cum­ber liq­uid-nico­tine pods in brick-and-mor­tar stores last year and on­line in Septem­ber.

In a state­ment Thurs­day an­nounc­ing its de­ci­sion to halt mint sales, Juul cited data re­leased this week show­ing mint’s pop­u­lar­ity among un­der­age vapers. The stud­ies in­di­cated that teens pre­fer Juul prod­ucts and that mint is their fa­vorite fla­vor.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive K.C. Crosth­waite said Juul will im­me­di­ately stop ac­cept­ing or­ders for mint liq­uid-nico­tine pods from re­tail­ers, and will also stop sell­ing the prod­ucts on­line.

The newly re­leased data, he said, “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.”

He added that the com­pany “will sup­port the up­com­ing FDA fla­vor pol­icy” and will fol­low the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s process for get­ting au­tho­riza­tion to sell its prod­ucts.

Juul said it now sells two kinds of to­bacco-fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes and one men­thol vape, and will not re­brand mint un­der any other name un­less cleared by the FDA.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ex­pected ban on fla­vored vap­ing prod­ucts is a re­sponse to the surge in youth vap­ing. Al­most 28 per­cent of high school stu­dents and al­most 11 per­cent of mid­dle-school­ers — more than 5 mil­lion mi­nors — said in the gov­ern­ment’s lat­est sur­vey they had used e-cig­a­rettes in the past month.

In Septem­ber, Pres­i­dent Trump vowed to re­move all non-to­bac­cofla­vored vapes from the mar­ket, in­clud­ing men­thol.

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