Juul Pulls Mint Pods

E-cigarette maker's move is in response to national tobacco survey on youth, officials say
Photograph: Shutterstock

SAN FRANCISCO — After recently halting online sales of four flavored vaping pods, e-cigarette maker Juul Labs has announced it will stop accepting retail orders and discontinue online sales of its mint-flavored pods, leaving only Virginia Tobacco, Classic Tobacco and Menthol options.

The San Francisco-based company stopped retail sales of its Creme, Cucumber, Fruit and Mango pods in November of last year and online sales of those products in October of this year. The new decision to take mint off shelves and from online comes at a heavy price: CNBC reported that mint currently makes up 70% of the company’s pod sales.

Tying the decision to newly released data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey that showed a high number of youth using mint pods, K.C. Crosthwaite, CEO of Juul Labs, said, “These results are unacceptable and that is why we must reset the vapor category in the U.S. and earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with regulators, attorneys general, public health officials and other stakeholders to combat underage use.”

He said the company will support the upcoming U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) flavor policy and will follow the agency’s new-product application and review processes.

The company has recently taken several measures to mitigate the problem of minors using its products. These steps include the following:

  • Refraining from lobbying the Trump administration on its draft flavor guidance.
  • Suspending all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the United States.
  • Stopping the sale of Creme, Cucumber, Fruit and Mango pods online in October in the United States, pending FDA review. In November 2018, Juul stopped the distribution of these those four flavors to retail partners.
  • Announcing a restructuring plan aimed at aligning the company’s organization and resources behind key priorities: earning trust by reducing and preventing underage use, investing in scientific research to ensure the quality of its FDA application in the United States and expanding its commitment to develop new technology.
  • Ceased active support of Proposition C, a measure contesting San Francisco’s ban on e-cigarettes. In preliminary tabulations, voters defeated the proposal, potentially paving the way for an enactment of the e-cigarette ban, reported CBS News.

[Editor's note: CSP’s 2020 Convenience Retailing University conference will dig deep into category sales trends and best practices, including those involving tobacco, OTP and nicotine delivery systems. We’ll also name our Category Managers of the Year. To request an invitation to CRU, click here.]

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