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Juul Halts Sales of Mint-Flavored E-Cigarettes, its Most Popular Product

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels

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Juul, Mint, E Cigarettes
FILE - A woman buys refills for her Juul at a smoke shop in New York, Dec. 20, 2018. VOA

Juul Labs said Thursday it will halt sales of its best-selling, mint-flavored electronic cigarettes as it struggles to survive a nationwide backlash against vaping.

The voluntary step comes days after new government research showed that Juul is the top brand among high schoolers who use e-cigarettes and that many prefer mint.

“These results are unacceptable and that is why we must reset the vapor category in the U.S.,” said the company’s CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, in a statement.

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18.

Juul, Mint, E Cigarettes
The voluntary step comes days after new government research showed that Juul is the top brand among high schoolers who use e-cigarettes and that many prefer mint. Pixabay

Under fire for its alleged role in sparking the vaping trend among teens, Juul has made a series of concessions to try and weather a crackdown from local, state and federal officials. It stopped selling popular fruit and dessert flavors in stores last year, and last month, stopped selling them online, too.

Earlier, the company replaced its CEO and pledged to stop advertising its products.

After halting mint sales, Juul will only sell menthol and tobacco flavors. Mint and menthol accounted for nearly 60% of the company’s retail sales in the past year, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other flavored e-cigarettes have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users. Federal health officials are expected to soon release plans for removing most vaping flavors from the market.

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Lawsuits

In September, President Donald Trump said the flavor ban would include mint and menthol flavors. However, no details have yet been released, leading anti-vaping advocates to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Flavors are banned for traditional cigarettes in the U.S., except for menthol.

Juul, Mint, E Cigarettes
“These results are unacceptable and that is why we must reset the vapor category in the U.S.,” said the company’s CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, in a statement. Pixabay

Juul is the best-selling e-cigarette brand in the U.S., but has been besieged by legal troubles, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juul users who claim they became addicted to nicotine through the company’s products.

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E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, which makes cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive. They have been sold in the U.S. for more than a decade and are often pitched as a lower-risk nicotine source for adult smokers. (VOA)

Next Story

WHO Demands Strict Regulations on Vaping Products

WHO says there should be a ban on the promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems to nonsmokers, pregnant women and youth

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WHO
The World Health Organization also known as WHO says it is disturbed that vaping devices continue to be marketed as products that are healthy and that can wean smokers off their nicotine addiction. Wikimedia Commons

The World Health Organization also called WHO is calling for stricter regulations on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes as more information comes to light about the potentially harmful impact of these products.

Health officials are increasingly worried about the risks posed by e-cigarettes as reported cases of deaths and illnesses from these devices spread from the United States to Europe and beyond. They see the recent death of a young man in Belgium and reports of vaping-related illnesses in the Philippines and other countries in the world as a call to action.

The World Health Organization says it is disturbed that vaping devices continue to be marketed as products that are healthy and that can wean smokers off their nicotine addiction.  WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier tells VOA these industry health claims are unproven.

“While these electronic nicotine delivery systems may be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, this does not make them harmless,” he said.  “They produce aerosols from the vapor that contain toxicants that can result in a range of significant pathological changes.  These ends pose health risks for nonsmokers, to minors, to pregnant women — all of those who should not use such systems.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed at least 42 deaths in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 2,100 illnesses related to vaping products.

WHO
The World Health Organization also called WHO is calling for stricter regulations on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes as more information comes to light about the potentially harmful impact of these products. Pixabay

Vaping is an extremely profitable growth industry.  The number of people using vaping devices has increased from 7 million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018.  Profits have nearly tripled, from $6.9 billion five years ago to more than $19 billion today.  Getting the tobacco industry to refrain from the sale of electronic smoking devices will be extremely difficult.

The World Health Organization says long-term studies of health implications of electronic nicotine devices should begin.  In the meantime, the U.N. health agency is issuing recommendations that in some ways mirror those enacted to control tobacco use.

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WHO says there should be a ban on the promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems to nonsmokers, pregnant women and youth; measures should be taken to minimize the potential risks to users and others from these devices, and the tobacco industry should be prohibited from using unproven health claims to market vaping products.  (VOA)