The vaping company Juul Labs will suspend all advertising in the United States, accept a ban on flavored e-cigarette products and make other major changes amid public outcry and health concerns about the use of electronic cigarettes, particularly among teens.
It’s Over For Flavored Vaping Products
Juul released a statement on Wednesday (Sept. 25) saying that it will not fight a federal ban on flavored vaping products and that it will stop advertising its products immediately. In addition, CEO Kevin Burns is stepping down and will be replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, former chief growth officer at Altria Group Inc.
Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA, is one of the biggest tobacco companies in the nation. Altria has a 35% stake in Juul, which it bought for $12.8 billion last December.
In his first statement as CEO, Crosthwaite said that Juul is at a crossroads.
“I have long believed in a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products like JUUL. That has been this company’s mission since it was founded, and it has taken great strides in that direction,” he said. “Unfortunately, today that future is at risk due to unacceptable levels of youth usage and eroding public confidence in our industry. Against that backdrop, we must strive to work with regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders, and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate. That includes inviting an open dialogue, listening to others and being responsive to their concerns.”
No More Ads
Effective immediately, the company will be “suspending all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S.” and “Refraining from lobbying the Administration on its draft guidance and committing to fully support and comply with the final policy when effective,” according to the company’s statement.
In the statement, the company said that it has already taken steps to combat underage use of its products:
“JUUL Labs has strongly advocated for Tobacco 21 (T21) laws, stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavored JUULpods to all of its traditional retail store partners, enhanced its online age verification, discontinued its U.S.-based Facebook and Instagram accounts and works to remove inappropriate social media content generated by others on those platforms. The company also intensified efforts to combat illegal and potentially dangerous counterfeit and compatible products. Most recently, JUUL Labs started deploying technology at retail stores that automatically restricts the sale of JUUL products until a government-issued ID is electronically scanned to verify age and ID validity, exceeding the standards in place for other tobacco products and alcohol.”