Juul halts store sales of some flavored e-cigarettes

NEW YORK — Flavored vaping is going up in smoke to snuff out teen addiction.

E-cigarette giant Juul announced Tuesday it’s suspending retail sales of some of its flavored pods.

The move comes as the Food and Drug Administration is set to release its own restrictions on flavored vaping this week.

This is seen as a preemptive move by Juul to do something before the FDA releases their proposal. Critics say Juul doesn’t go far enough, while retail stores says their overall business will suffer.

Its products are meant to help adult smokers quit regular cigarettes, CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement.

"We don't want anyone who doesn't smoke, or already use nicotine, to use Juul products," Burns said. "We certainly don't want youth using the product. It is bad for public health and it is bad for our mission."

Juul says they will end their social media and online marketing campaigns. They will also stop accepting orders from its retail stores for its mango, fruit, cream and cucumber pods. Menthol and mint flavors are exempt.

Those four flavors are still available online but Juul says they’re adding strict age verification measures.

The e-cigarette industry has come under fire for the alarming rise in young people getting hooked on nicotine.

The New York State Health Department says they’ve seen a 160 percent increase in high school kids vaping and in over the last four years, it’s gone from 10.4 percent of students vaping to 27.4 percent.

The Deputy Commissioner of the City’s Dept. of Health says the government needs to step in.

“We really need to find a way to help protect the youth and by taking action and reducing access to flavored e-cigarettes, we think that will make a huge difference,” said Deputy Commissioner Sonia Angell.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 3 million adolescents are using e-cigarettes.

Juul supplies 90,000 stores including Village Smoke and Vape in the East Village. The store manager tells PIX11 flavored e-cigarettes account for at least 30 percent of sales and their business will suffer.

“Cigarette buyers are less now and Juul buyers are day by day increasing, so we are in trouble,” said Abdul Aman, of Village Smoke and Vape.

Juul has long maintained their products are not geared towards teens, but instead made to help adults wean off tobacco cigarettes.

Village Smoke and Vape says the ban is harsh because their customers are adults and they follow the age enforcement policy.

“Not teenagers and we are checking all IDs 21 plus not less than that it’s illegal and I know that rule,” Aman said.

The FDA tweeted today that “voluntary action is no substitute for regulatory steps the FDA will soon take.”

We expect to hear more about those regulations by the end of this week.