The president of JUUL Labs has announced plans to shut down some of the company’s social media accounts and suspend the sales of flavoured liquid pods in retail stores across the US.
The announcement came in the wake of the FDA’s flavour ban in America’s gas stations and convenience stores. JUUL Labs has been unable to escape controversy in recent years. Long accused of marketing to minors and contributing to an “epidemic” of American high school vaping, this is the newest move from the company.
In a press release, president Kevin Burns said:
“JUUL Labs and FDA share a common goal – preventing youth from initiating on nicotine. To paraphrase Commissioner Gottlieb, we want to be the off-ramp for adult smokers to switch from cigarettes, not an on-ramp for America’s youth to initiate on nicotine…For us to successfully fulfill our mission of helping adult smokers, we must be trusted – and we must earn that trust. That starts with action, not words.”
Previous efforts by JUUL Labs towards this goal have included education campaigns and a range of reduced nicotine pods. This move is their most ambitious yet. It is divided two ways; into a plan for flavour sales and retail distribution. The company’s flavour plan is as follows:
- Stopping flavoured JUUL pod sales to all 90 000 + retail stores
- Raising the minimum age for online sales of flavoured pods to 21
This will include two-factor age authentication, to verify ID and restrict bulk purchases.
The retail plan involves:
- Strengthening retail compliance
Under this rule, the only JUUL pods available for purchase will be imitating what smokers can acquire through combustible cigarettes: tobacco and menthol flavours. JUUL will also expand their secret shopper compliance program from 500 visits to 2000 per month to keep tabs on retail stores.
2. Cracking down on unauthorised online sales
3. Shutting down social media accounts and escalating the fight against “third party accounts”
In addition to these measures, which will take immediate effect, JUUL Labs are working on plans for the future, looking into tech-based solutions to better enforce restrictions. One of these is “developing end-to-end traceability to track where a specific JUUL device or JUUL pod was purchased to focus enforcement efforts on bad actors” and developing Bluetooth-enabled, age-gated smart devices.
It should be noted that JUUL’s new policies will only affect their operations in the US and are not expected to affect JUUL sales in Canada or the UK.