Juul Implementing Series of New Measures to Reduce Underage Use

A person holding a Juul device

SAN FRANCISCO — Juul Labs is rolling out a new point-of-sale (POS) program to help retailers prevent minors buying vapor products.

With the Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) program, every retail POS immediately locks when a Juul product is scanned and remains locked until a retailer electronically scans a valid, of-age government-issued identification to verify both the age and the identification validity.

Additionally, RACS imposes automatic limits on the amount of product a legal-age customer can purchase. Scanned personal data will be eliminated immediately following the transaction, Juul explained.

According to the San Francisco-based company, more than 50 retail chains — totaling more than 40,000 outlets — have already committed to being RACS-compliant.

"More than 7,000 of those stores are currently in the process of implementing RACS, and we expect more than 15,000 stores to implement by the end of 2019," Juul said in a release. "By mid-2020, we expect that more than half of our sales volume will be through retailers who are RACS-compliant, and plan to stop distributing Juul products to any retailer that isn't RACS-certified by May 2021."

A third-party auditor will monitor each certification to ensure compliance, the company added.

Juul is providing more than $100 million of incentives and financial support to retailers that implement the POS program by May 20121. Convenience store chains Chevron ExtraMile, Cumberland Farms, Kum & Go and QuikTrip are among the early adopters of the program.

"Initial data verify the effectiveness of this automated technological solution. We piloted RACS with three retail partners across almost 200 individual retail stores. As part of this pilot, we conducted almost 2,000 secret shop visits to these locations and witnessed failure rates of less than 1 percent across pilot locations, on both age-verification and bulk-purchasing compliance," Juul said.

"This compares with current FDA age-verification compliance failures for tobacco products ranging from low single digits up to 20 percent for these chains. RACS offers the entire retail industry an effective tool to materially reduce and potentially eliminate violation rates, and to reach our shared goal of 100-percent compliance for age-verification and bulk-purchase limits," it added.

In addition to rolling out RACS, Juul said it enhanced its secret shopper program to include a "3-Strikes-And-Your-Out" program, revoking a retailer's authorization to sell the company's products for a minimum of one year and requiring RACS certification if they receive three age-verification or bulk-purchase violations within the same year. 

Trace & Track

RACS is just one of step Juul is taking to combat youth vapor use. The company is also rolling out its Track & Trace program for its devices in the United States. The program's goal is to trace confiscated Juul devices through the distribution chain and identify where the product was sold.

"We have piloted our Track & Trace program in the Houston area over the past 20 weeks, including a digital advertising awareness campaign to inform educators, school administrators, law enforcement, and parents on how they can help us locate the source of Juul device sales to minors by entering the device serial number into our online portal. For devices that have been reported, we have already seen significant improvement in traceability," the company explained. "We plan to build on our success in Houston by expanding the program nationally."

As of today, approximately 50 percent of Juul devices in the U.S. market are fully traceable, and the company expects nearly 100 percent to be traceable within 90 days.

"If we see that reported devices are consistently being sold from the same retailer, we will specifically target those stores with our secret shopper program," it added.

In addition to these steps, Juul previously:

  • Banned the online sales to anyone under 21;
  • Has given its support to Tobacco 21 laws;
  • Stopped selling non-tobacco and non-menthol based flavored Juul pods to traditional retail stores;
  • Boosted its online age-verification process;
  • Conducted more than 2,000 secret shop visits per month; and
  • Shut down its U.S.-based Facebook and Instagram accounts.

"Today's actions are a continuation of these efforts. However, we know that even these strong measures will not make this issue disappear overnight — youth vaping emerged over the course of several years and will take at least that long to address," the company said.