Juul suspends online sales of fruit, dessert flavours for e-cigarettes in U.S.
Company stopped retail sales last November amid backlash over vaping's impact on young people
Juul Labs will stop online sales of fruit and dessert flavours for its electronic cigarettes in the U.S., nearly a year after halting in-store purchases.
The voluntary step announced Thursday is the company's latest concession as it tries to weather a political backlash blaming flavoured nicotine products for getting a generation of teenagers hooked on them.
Juul pulled the fruit and dessert flavours out of stores last November.
The most recent move is unlikely to satisfy the company's critics. Juul will continue selling its most popular vaping flavours: mint and menthol. Those products account for more than 60 per cent of Juul's retail sales, according to analysts. They are also the most popular flavours among teens.
The flavoured pods affected by the announcement are mango, creme, fruit and cucumber.
Those flavours account for about 10 per cent of the company's sales and were only available on its website with what the company said were "strict age-verification controls."
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Juul that it was misleading consumers by marketing its products as safer than cigarettes, and requested more information on its nicotine blend.
Last month, Juul CEO Kevin Burns stepped down.
Juul's new chief executive, K.C. Crosthwaite, a veteran of Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc, said in a statement Thursday that the company needs to "[earn] the trust of society," by co-operating with regulators and policymakers.
More illnesses reported
Elsewhere in the U.S. on Thursday, health officials reported 33 deaths and 1,479 confirmed or probable cases from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping. The 180 new cases in the past week was the lowest weekly increase since mid-September.
Investigators have suggested vaping oils containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is especially risky.
Last week, health officials said there may be multiple causes behind the illness and that its cause may not be the same across the U.S.
The spate of serious respiratory illnesses has led to U.S. officials urging people to stop vaping, especially those products containing THC.
As of Thursday, five confirmed or probable cases of severe lung illness related to vaping have been reported in Canada: two confirmed in Quebec, two probable cases in New Brunswick and another probable case in B.C.
Last week, the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health said while the illness is under investigation, they recommend all Canadians to:
- Consider refraining from using e-cigarettes or vaping products, particularly any that have been purchased illegally, including any that contain THC.
- See a health-care provider immediately if, after recent use of a vaping product, you have symptoms of pulmonary illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) like those reported in the outbreak.
- Not return to smoking cigarettes if you are using nicotine-containing vaping products as a means of quitting cigarette smoking.
No single ingredient, electronic cigarette or vaping device has been linked to all the illnesses.
With files from Reuters and CBC News