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Juul halts sales of mint-flavored e-cigarettes, its most popular product

The move comes ahead of an expected White House ban on most flavored vapes.

New research shows teens who use electronic cigarettes in the United States prefer those made by Juul Labs, and mint is their favorite flavor. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
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Juul Labs Inc. announced Thursday it is halting sales of its popular mint-flavored e-cigarettes in the United States.

The move came amid expectations the Trump administration is close to imposing a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes, except for menthol and tobacco.

Mint accounts for about 70 percent of Juul’s sales in the United States, compared with 20 percent for tobacco-flavored vapes and 10 percent for menthol, according to sales figures. Juul stopped selling its popular mango, fruit, creme and cucumber liquid-nicotine pods in brick-and-mortar stores last year and online in September.

In a statement Thursday, Juul said it made the decision to halt mint sales “in light of” new data released this week showing mint’s popularity among underage vapers. The studies indicated that teens prefer Juul products and that mint is their favorite flavor.

Juul has been widely criticized by government officials and health groups for fueling the sharp increase in youth vaping. The company has repeatedly denied marketing its products to minors.

Chief executive K.C. Crosthwaite said Juul will immediately stop accepting orders for mint liquid-nicotine pods from retailers, and will also stop selling the products online.

The newly released data, he said, “are unacceptable and that is why we must reset the vapor category in the U.S. and earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with regulators, attorneys general, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use.”

He added that the company “will support the upcoming FDA flavor policy” and will follow the agency’s process for getting authorization to sell its products.

Juul said it now sells two kinds of tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes and one menthol vape, and will not rebrand mint under any other name unless cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.

The administration’s expected ban on flavored vaping products is a response to the surge in youth vaping. In September, President Trump vowed to remove all nontobacco-flavored vapes from the market, including menthol.