Juul to stop selling most e-cig flavors in stores, end social media promotions

Faced with the threat of regulations and accusations of targeting minors with vaping products and marketing, Juul Labs announced Nov. 13 it would suspend retail sales of most of its flavored e-cigarette pods and shut down social media promotions.

The company plans to stop filling retail orders for mango, fruit, crème and cucumber pods but will still have those available online. In addition, those flavors may be made available to retailers in the future that invest in age-verification technology to ensure buyers are 21 or older. Juul will continue selling mint, tobacco and menthol flavor pods at retail outlets.

“Our intent was never to have youth use Juul,” Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement. “But intent is not enough. The numbers are what matter and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarettes is a problem.”

But some critics say the actions are too little, too late. In late September, the FDA raided the company’s offices and came away with more than a thousand pages of documents related to Juul’s marketing and sales tactics.

“Juul’s social media marketing fueled its popularity with kids,” Caroline Renzulli, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told The New York Times. “Now that it has captured 75 percent of the e-cigarette market, Juul no longer needs to do social media marketing because its young customers are doing it for them.”

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, chimed in on Twitter, saying: “We’re deeply concerned about the epidemic of youth use of e-cigs. Voluntary action is no substitute for regulatory steps #FDA will soon take. But we want to recognize actions by JUUL today and urge all manufacturers to immediately implement steps to start reversing these trends.”

Read the full story from The Times below: