Juul suspends sales of mint-flavored e-cigarettes after studies linked them with increased use among teens. File Photo by Mylesclark96/Wikimedia Commons
Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Juul Labs, manufacturer of popular flavored vaping devices, announced Thursday that it will stop taking orders for mint Juul pods from retail partners in the United States.
The move comes after multiple research studies linked the company's flavored e-cigarette products with increased use among teens -- specifically pointing to mint as a favored flavor.
Juul Labs will also stop taking orders from consumers made via its online e-commerce site, effective immediately, the company 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," Juul Labs' CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said in a statement. "We will support the upcoming FDA flavor policy and will follow the PMTA process."
With the announcement, Juul Labs now sells only Virginia Tobacco, Classic Tobacco, and Menthol flavored Juul pods in the United States and it will not sell any others under any name unless they are first authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Jessica Barrington-Trimis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California and an author on one of the studies cited by Juul, told UPI the company's actions are "a step in the right direction in terms of protecting youth, though we still have a long way to go."
The study, published Monday in JAMA, found 29.2 percent of 8th graders, 43.5 percent of 10th graders and 47.1 percent of 12th graders used mint flavored Juul pods most often, based on analysis of data from the national Monitoring The Future survey.
While mango was the most popular flavored Juul pod among 8th graders, it was second -- to mint -- among 10th and 12th graders. In all three grades, roughly two-thirds of the study's 42,531 respondents preferred mint or mango pods, with the rest preferring fruit or "other flavors."
As part of his review of Juul Labs' policies and practices, Crosthwaite said the company has already refrained from lobbying the Trump administration on its draft flavor guidance; suspended all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S.; and stopped the sale of mango, creme, fruit and cucumber flavored Juul pods online in the U.S., pending FDA review.
Juul Labs stopped the distribution of the mango, creme, fruit and cucumber to its retail store partners in November 2018. At the time, the company also committed to "reducing and preventing underage use."
According to the company release, Crosthwaite and the leadership team will "continue to review Juul Labs' policies and practices and will take appropriate actions as the company works to combat underage use and earn society's trust."