On Tuesday, Juul Labs Inc, CEO Kevin Burns, the U.S. market leader for electronic cigarettes, announced that the company has stopped accepting retail orders for its mango, fruit, creme and cucumber pods to the more than 90,000 convenience stores and other retail shops.
The company plans to resume sales to retailers that adopt the company’s new age restrictions and verification system. Juul is banning sales to anyone under 21, even in states where the legal age is lower. Additionally, Juul will more intensely police individual retailers by increasing its secret shopper visits from 500 to about 2,000 per month.
Retailers that want to sell the sweeter flavors will need to comply with Juul’s new distribution system and age restrictions. Clerks must electronically scan IDs and verify consumers are older than 21, regardless of local laws. The sale quantity will also be limited to prevent bulk purchases.
The company will also shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts and end promotional activity on Twitter, using it only for “non-promotional” communications, Burns said. will also use its YouTube account only to show former adult smokers’ testimonials. Juul already works with Instagram and Facebook to remove inappropriate content, including images and videos of teenagers using its products.
Last week the Cuomo administration announced that they plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes next year, possibly making New York the first state to prohibit the popular vaping product.
“Our administration will soon republish regulations banning the sale or possession of flavored e-cigarettes. The regulations could then be adopted after a 60-day period of public comment,” a spokesman for the Democratic governor told The Wall Street Journal.
“Regulations are necessary to address the alarming increase of e-cigarette use among the youth… over just the last four years, driven primarily by the abundance of e-liquid flavors,” the New York State Health Department said in a public statement.
The danger of flavored e-cigarettes
Vaping among high school students has gone up 160 percent in four years, from 10.4 percent in 2014 to 27.4 percent in 2018, the New York State Health Department reported.
The Cuomo administration believes that the flavor is the underlying reason for the increase.
A recent survey commissioned by NY state identified that 46 percent of teens prefer fruit flavors, followed by 20 percent for menthol and 18 percent for chocolate, candy or other sweets.
The survey also found that teens are more likely to believe that flavored e-cigarettes are less harmful.
“There is also a concern regarding human exposure to nicotine. Users are often unaware of how much nicotine they are consuming. The newest and most popular e-cigarettes deliver high levels of nicotine, the addictive component in all tobacco products,” the survey reports.
With more than 700 vape shops in New York, there are an estimated 15,000 flavored e-cigarettes on the market including apple, cherry, peach, melon, strawberry, vanilla, custard, peanut butter cup, cream cookie, bubbleerazz, mango burst, and caramel.
The Cuomo administration would reportedly still allow the sale of unflavored cigarettes since it’s less popular among teens.