JUUL Labs announced the removal of sales of all flavored vape pods which included Mango, Creme, Cucumber & Fruit. The vape manufacturer halted the distribution of flavored pods to retail outlets earlier in 2019 and only sold them online. This move announced shortly after a growing national debate on the uptick in youth vaping rates. In fact, a recent study revealed more than half of eight graders & high schoolers who illegally vaped were recently surveyed admitted to using the JUUL brand exclusively.
Two recent key developments arose in JUUL Labs which brings to question the long term motives of the company. First, the 35% acquisition of Altria (one of the largest tobacco companies in the US). Second, the departure of the JUUL CEO and Founder and his former big tobacco replacement K.C. Crosthwaite.
Ever since JUUL sold a large portion of their company to Altria, there has been a red flag associated with their partial big tobacco owners. More recently, a company executive shake up left top ranking management leaving their positions amid a massive labor reduction.
“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.”K.C. Crosthwaite CEO for Juul
While JUUL tries to correct their battered public image by openly welcoming flavor bans by the FDA – the rest of the vape market largely composed of small business vape shop retailers would potentially be put out of business by such a ban. Tobacco flavored vape juice makes up a very small overall percentage of the legal adult vape market.
Is this a move to snub out vape shop brick and mortar retailers and push for FDA approved big tobacco vape products to exist at convenience stores only?