Juul halts sales of fruit, dessert flavours for e-cigarettes in U.S.

Company to stop selling mango, crème, fruit and cucumber, but still sell popular mint and menthol

In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 file photo, Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Juul Labs stopped selling fruit and dessert flavours Thursday, acknowledging the public’s “lack of trust” in the vaping industry.

The voluntary step is the company’s latest attempt to weather a growing political backlash blaming its flavoured-nicotine products for hooking a generation of teenagers on electronic cigarettes.

Juul, the bestselling e-cigarette brand in the U.S., has been besieged by scrutiny, including multiple investigations by Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juul users who claim they were addicted to nicotine by the company’s products. And the Trump administration has proposed banning nearly all vaping flavours.

Still, the company’s latest step is unlikely to satisfy its critics.

The flavours affected by Thursday’s announcement — mango, crème, fruit and cucumber — account for 10 per cent of Juul’s sales. It will continue selling its most popular flavours, mint and menthol, for now. A spokesman said the company is reviewing its products and practices and has not made “any final decisions.”

Mint and menthol account for most of Juul’s retail sales, according to analysts, and are the most popular flavours among teens.

The San Francisco-based company will also continue to sell its tobacco-flavoured vaping pods.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Matthew Myers said that Juul’s decision to keep selling mint and menthol shows “it isn’t serious about preventing youth use.”

“Juul knows that 64% of high school e-cigarette users now use mint or menthol flavours and this number is growing all the time,” Myers said in a statement.

His group and others are urging the Trump administration to follow through on its proposal to ban all vaping flavours except tobacco.

The sales concession comes less than a month after a major shake-up at the privately held firm, in which it pledged to stop advertising and agreed to stop lobbying against the administration’s proposed flavour ban.

“We must reset the vapour category by earning the trust of society and working co-operatively with regulators, policymakers and stakeholders,” the company’s new CEO, K.C. Crosthwaite, said in a statement. He previously worked as an executive for Marlboro-maker Altria, which is also Juul’s biggest investor.

READ MORE: First case of ‘probable’ vaping-related illness in B.C. ‘not surprising,’ prof says

This week’s move marks a remarkable shift for Juul, which had argued for years that its flavours help adult smokers quit cigarettes.

But the announcement doesn’t necessarily mean the permanent end of Juul’s flavours. Instead, Crosthwaite said the company would defer to the decision of the Food and Drug Administration, which has set a deadline of next May for manufacturers to submit their vaping products for federal review.

Under the agency’s standards, only vaping products that represent a net benefit to public health are supposed to remain on the market.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Residents urged to stay close to home over the holiday weekend

Time to be extra vigilant during the COVID-19 crisis

Vandekamp moving on from Cowichan Capitals

Head coach returns to AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game developed by Crofton family just the remedy for filling time at home

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

Most Read