Juul’s decision comes just as the Food and Drug Administration was getting ready to announce similar restrictions on the company, after saying that a “public health tragedy” is underway with the vast number of teenagers illegally using the product. Juul controls 74 percent of the market for e-cigarettes.
Juul will now only offer the mint, tobacco and menthol flavors in stores, while restricting teen-preferred flavors like mango and creme to the online store, where shoppers must enter the last four digits of their social security number to verify their age.
Additionally, the company shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts, and says it will only use Twitter for “non-promotional communications.”
Juul has long said its goal was never to attract teens — who generally do not meet the 18 and up age requirement to purchase e-cigarettes — to the product. Rather, the company said it wanted to provide an alternative to toxin-heavy cigarettes for people who already smoke. (While Juuls and other e-cigarettes have fewer toxins than traditional cigarettes, they provide a higher dose of nicotine and are considered highly addictive.)
“We don’t want anyone who doesn’t smoke, or already use nicotine, to use JUUL products,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement. “We certainly don’t want youth using the product. It is bad for public health, and it is bad for our mission.”
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