No more mint
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.