Juul to pull popular fruity e-cigarette flavors in bid to curb teen use

Juul to pull popular fruity e-cigarette flavors in bid to curb teen use

The e-cigarette US 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.

The move comes as parent company Juul Labs Inc and other e-cigarette makers have faced heightened scrutiny from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amid a sharp increase in high school use of the devices, which look like a USB flash drive and vaporize a flavored liquid containing nicotine.

In a statement on Tuesday, Juul chief executive Kevin Burns said the company wants to be “the off-ramp for adult smokers to switch from cigarettes, not an on-ramp for America’s youth to initiate on nicotine”.

The company said that tobacco, mint and menthol would be its only vaping flavors available in corner stores and vape shops where the product is commonly sold. The company added it would strengthen age verification for online sales.

In September, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency would soon release data that shows a “substantial increase” in youth vaping this year compared with 2017. In a speech in Washington, Gottlieb announced steps the government planned to take as part of a broader crackdown on the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children. The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies they declared have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids.

“We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion,” Gottlieb said. “We cannot allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine.”

The FDA told five major e-cigarette manufacturers to come up with ways to address youth use in 60 days from the mid-September announcement, or the agency could require them to stop selling flavored products that appeal to children. 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 Guardian