Juul stops selling another flavor to placate “society”

AP, via the weekend’s paper:

Juul Labs said Thursday it will halt U.S. sales of its best-selling, mint-flavored electronic cigarettes as it struggles to survive a nationwide backlash against vaping.

The voluntary step comes days after new government research showed that Juul is the top brand among high schoolers who use e-cigarettes and that many prefer mint.

“These results are unacceptable,” said the company’s CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, adding in a statement that the company must “earn the trust of society.”


Also: oh, no. The most popular flavor among all four of their current ones (the three remaining flavors are menthol, tobacco, and tobacco) is popular not just with all users, but with teens. It’s almost as if the different age groups prefer the same flavor and discontinuing that flavor isn’t targeted at underage vapers at all.

If this story sounds familiar, by the way, that’s because it happened with other flavors last month:

Juul Labs stopped selling fruit and dessert flavors Thursday, acknowledging the public’s “lack of trust” in the vaping industry. The voluntary step is the company’s latest attempt to weather a growing political backlash blaming its flavored-nicotine products for hooking a generation of teenagers on electronic cigarettes.

That repetition of “voluntary step” sounded creepy at first, until I checked another source for last month’s story and realized that the same AP reporter had written them both. So maybe it isn’t imposed language or groupthink, but a reporter recycling his phrases.

Maybe. There’s something irrational going on here.

I have yet to see a convincing explanation for why vape pens are so terrible – not just a cause for concern, but an excuse for hysteria and knee-jerk federal bloviation. The nearest miss was the rash of vaping-related lung illnesses, but that’s already been pretty convincingly linked to a thickener in “black-market” pods. (There was a new story about that in the weekend paper too, but it was on page C6 next to the obits while “Juul ‘voluntarily’ stops selling another flavor to ‘earn’ the ‘trust’ of ‘society'” was on C1, above the fold.)


P.S. I noticed that CBS Interactive put its own copyright notice on an AP story, claiming ownership of it, whereas the CBS affiliate page didn’t. It’s funny how intellectual-property law becomes more malleable at scale.


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