Juul Labs Suspends Sales of Fruit-Flavored Vapor Products

Juul pods

SAN FRANCISCO — While Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explores the possibility of pulling flavored electronic cigarette and vapor products from the market, Juul Labs is hitting the pause button on the sales of its fruit-flavored products.

On Oct. 17, the San Francisco-based company suspended the sale of its non-tobacco, non-menthol-based flavors (Mango, Creme, Fruit and Cucumber) in the United States, pending FDA review. 

"We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers," said Juul Labs CEO K.C. Crosthwaite.

On Sept. 11, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the FDA would make removing unauthorized non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes from the market a priority, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

Following the 2016 deeming rule, which set regulations for e-cigarettes and vapor products among other tobacco products, all electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) must file a Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) for FDA approval to remain on the market. To date, the agency has not approved any PMTAs for ENDS.

"Given the lack of trust in our industry, we believe the FDA's PMTA process and its 'appropriate for the protection of the public health' standard are the best ways to assess the role these products can play in helping adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes while also being kept out of the hands of youth," Juul said in a statement.

From November 2018 until Oct. 17, Juul's Mango, Creme, Fruit and Cucumber flavored products were only available in the U.S. on its website, which has strict age-verification controls.

"As we evaluate what products to submit for PMTA, we will continue to develop scientific evidence to support the use of these flavored products, coupled with strict measures to combat underage use, as we believe these products can play an important role in helping adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes," Juul added.

This is the fourth major move Juul has made since Crosthwaite took the lead as CEO in September. At the time of his appointment, which came as former CEO Kevin Burns stepped down, the company said Crosthwaite would lead a broad review of its practices and policies.

As part of that process, Juul:

  • Suspended all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S.;
  • Ceased active support of Proposition C in San Francisco, which addresses the sale of e-cigarettes; and
  • Is refraining from lobbying the administration on its draft flavor guidance and will fully support and comply with the final policy when effective.