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7-Eleven Canada - $1 Coffee (CNW Group/7-Eleven Canada)

7-Eleven Canada ups its coffee game with $1 promotion

7-Eleven Canada - $1 Coffee (CNW Group/7-Eleven Canada)

7-Eleven Canada – $1 Coffee (CNW Group/7-Eleven Canada)

7-Eleven Canada’s 7Rewards loyalty members can now score delicious hot beverages for $1 every day of the month. In addition to this new limited time offer, every 7th coffee (any size) is still free and members can earn points with everyday purchases. Points can be redeemed for perks and rewards including free food and beverages as well as access to exclusive deals, contests, and events.

7Rewards members can explore the store’s ever-expanding 7-Eleven Brewed Coffee and hot beverage menu, which Hershey’s SKOR Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice Latte, and the new Mexican Hacienda Miravalles Organic Coffee. 7-Eleven Brewed Coffee is ethically harvested, locally roasted and made of 100% Arabica beans.


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Tilray, AB InBev to launch CBD drinks in late 2019, THC drinks need more time

Photo: Canadian Press

Photo: Canadian Press

A joint venture between B.C. cannabis company Tilray Inc. and the world’s largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to have CBD-infused drinks on the Canadian market as early as December, but says it needs more time to research beverages containing THC.

Fluent Beverage Company’s chief executive Jorn Socquet said that through the two companies’ previously-announced research partnership, it has determined how to formulate beverages containing cannabidiol, the non-intoxicating compound also known as CBD, in a way that keeps the active ingredients stable and potent over the lifecycle of the product.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabis compound which produces a high and is known as THC, has proven much more unstable, he added.

“When you put CBD or THC into a beverage, it has a tendency to degrade over time… And so we’ve figured it out, but we didn’t figure it out for THC yet,” he said in an interview.

Socquet said he didn’t have a timeline for when he expects Fluent’s THC beverages to be ready.

“We’re not going to rush it, because again, we want to always deliver a safe experience for our consumers,” he said. “Obviously, we are aiming to be in market as soon as possible.”

The impending beverages launch comes after the parent company of Labatt Breweries of Canada and Nanaimo, B.C.-based Tilray in December announced a deal to research and develop non-alcoholic beverages containing CBD and THC.

It’s one of several tie-ups between alcohol giants and Canadian pot companies ahead of the next wave of adult-use legalization in Canada later this year.

Molson Coors Canada and HEXO Corp., a Quebec-based cannabis producer, announced a similar partnership last August. Alcohol producer Constellation Brands Inc. announced its $5 billion investment in Canopy Growth Corp. that same month.

Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use in October last year, starting with dried and fresh flower, seeds, plants and oils, but legislation governing next-generation products such as edibles, beverages, vapes and topicals comes into force on Oct. 17.

Due to the mandatory 60-day notice period companies must provide to Health Canada before selling these products, the earliest CBD beverages or THC-infused hand creams and other Cannabis 2.0 goods can legally go on sale in Canada is mid-December.

Socquet said Fluent, a joint venture between AB InBev’s Labatt subsidiary and Tilray’s recreational cannabis subsidiary High Park Company, is preparing to launch its portfolio of CBD-infused products in Canada in December, but it will depend on the various provincial and territorial bodies governing cannabis retail and distribution.

Fluent hasn’t produced any product yet, but it is currently commissioning the machines needed and expects to start commercial production in the coming weeks, said Socquet.

Developing cannabis drinks has been a challenge, he said, in part because when the active ingredients are concentrated it forms an oil, which is tough to mix with water into a beverage. Fluent has looked to a technology called nano-emulsions, a mixture of liquids with very small droplet sizes, in order to get CBD or THC into its drinks, he added.

Fluent has looked to address the lag in onset time that ingestible cannabis, such as pot brownies, can have.

While those who ingest cannabis typically feel its effects anywhere from between a half hour to four hours after consumption, Fluent is looking to speed up the process in its beverages.

“We are working on a platform that has an onset in less than 10 minutes and offsetting in about an hour and a half,” Socquet said, noting that it may differ between consumers and is more relevant for the intoxicating effects of THC rather than CBD.

Socquet would not give too many specifics about Fluent’s CBD beverage lineup but said, based on their research one thing is sure: it will not taste or look like beer.

“The reason why that is, is that consumers don’t want it… We’re going go into sparkling, slightly sweet beverages, we’re going to go into teas.”


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Canopy Growth buys majority stake in sports drink company BioSteel

imagesCannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. has bought a majority stake in BioSteel Sports Nutrition Inc., a maker of sports nutrition products.

The deal gives Canopy Growth a 72% stake in BioSteel with a path to full ownership.

Financial terms of the all-cash agreement were not immediately available.

With the acquisition, Canopy Growth gains an entry into the sports nutrition and hydration business.

Founded in 2009, BioSteel is best known for its pink sports drink that is used by professional athletes.

The company also has partnerships with USA Hockey, Canada Basketball, Athletics Canada and the Professional Hockey Players Association.

“This acquisition allows us to enter the sports nutrition space with a strong and growing brand as we continue towards a regulated market of food and beverage products that contain cannabis,” Canopy chief executive Mark Zekulin said in a statement.

“We view the adoption of CBD in future BioSteel offerings as a potentially significant and disruptive growth driver for our business.”


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Nova Scotia and Alberta reviewing vaping regulations

Government in Alberta and Nova Scotia are reviewing laws and regulations around vaping products.

In Nova Scotia, Premier Stephen McNeil says his government is looking at regulations that could ban flavoured vaping products in the province.

McNeil responded Wednesday after the Opposition Progressive Conservatives introduced legislation aimed at addressing the growing numbers of young people who vape.

The Tory bill calls for a ban on e-liquids, and prohibits the use and possession of tobacco products by people under the age of 19.

However, McNeil says the government is already considering a series of potential regulatory changes that would require licences to sell vaping products, similar to those required to sell tobacco.

He says vaping products are regulated by Health Canada, and he believes the federal agency must also “step up” to tighten rules around things like nicotine content.

The premier added that some provincial legislation may also be needed, but there likely won’t be a bill introduced during the current fall session of the legislature.

“We don’t actually need (legislation) to ban the flavours, but we may need to in terms of making other changes that may be required on how we deal with that product,” McNeil said.

He added the regulatory changes could appear before the session wraps up.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston said something has to be done about a product that was originally marketed as a smoking cessation device.

Houston said while vaping products have probably helped some smokers quit the habit, it’s becoming more clear there are potentially harmful health effects.

“My party’s objective is to make sure the discussion is being had,” he said. “If the premier is willing to engage in that discussion, then that’s a good thing.”

In an August interview, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, said that online sales were another challenge for the province. He also expressed concerns about teens being able to purchase products from vape stores.

While Nova Scotia was one of the first provinces to introduce regulations banning the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 19 and banning in-store advertising, Strang said there could be further tightening.

Meanwhile, the Alberta government will consider adding rules for vaping when it reviews the province’s smoking and tobacco legislation next month.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said he’s particularly concerned about the growing number of youth who vape, but there’s evidence it can be helpful for adults who are trying to quit smoking conventional cigarettes.

“I respect the rights of adults to choose for themselves, including choices that are unhealthy, but I don’t want my kids or anyone else’s kids to be pressured to start smoking or to start vaping,” he told reporters Wednesday.

He added a quarter of Alberta teens report having vaped in the last month.

Some acute lung illnesses have been reported as a result of vaping in Canada, but to date no cases in Alberta have come up.

The Centres for Disease Control in the United States has said 80% of the 800 recently reported severe lung illnesses from vaping involved people inhaling the cannabis compound THC with their device.

The review of Alberta’s Tobacco Act – which was already set to take place this fall regardless of recent vaping headlines – will be led by legislature member Jeremy Nixon. It is to seek feedback from school districts, municipalities, retailers and health advocates.

Nixon said the review could look at a minimum age for vaping, limiting its use in public places and workplaces, and strengthening restrictions for advertising, especially to youth.

The work is to begin Nov. 1 and be completed by year’s end, with a goal of having any changes brought before the legislature next spring. But Shandro said the government could act sooner if Alberta’s chief medical officer of health recommends any urgent action.

The legislation was last reviewed in 2012.

“This is a new, emerging technology that fell outside the scope of what the legislation said at the time,” Shandro said.

Darryl Tempest, executive director at the Canadian Vaping Association, said the Alberta government is taking a measured approach.

“We at the CVA share the deep concerns of Canadians about the recent cases of lung illnesses, particularly among youth,” he said.

“It’s critical that health authorities get to the primary source of this outbreak, as non-nicotine e-liquid vaping devices sourced on the black market have been implicated in many cases. It is for this reason that we encourage other provincial lawmakers and authorities to follow the example of Alberta.”

David Hammond, a professor of public health at the University of Waterloo, said governments need to act on vaping before there are calls for an all-out ban, which he said would be unproductive and unrealistic.

The key is to target vaping products at adults looking to get off more harmful traditional cigarettes, while cracking down on anything that would entice youth to pick up the habit, he said.

That could include banning advertising anywhere accessible to kids and limiting the zany flavours available for vaping devices popular with youth.

“I actually think it’s a barrier to some adult smokers and to some health professionals considering these products for quitting because they look like kiddie products – peanut butter and jam, chocolate chip cookie dough, cereal milk.”

At the same time, adults need to be better informed, Hammond added.

“In fact, smokers are confused,” he said. “A lot of them think that it’s just as bad or worse than smoking. And so we’ve actually failed both ends of this issue.”

 


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Q&A: What do we know about the U.S. vaping outbreak?

U.S. health officials continue to look for patterns in the hundreds of serious lung injuries reported in people who use electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices.

A look at what we know so far about the outbreak and the investigation:

WHO IS GETTING SICK?

As of October 4, the tally is 1,080 confirmed and probable cases in 48 states and one U.S. territory, including more than a dozen deaths. Health officials say 70% of the patients have been male. More than a third are younger than 21, with patients ranging in age from young teens to 75 years old.

WHAT VAPING PRODUCTS ARE INVOLVED?

No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified. Most of the patients say they vaped products containing THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana. Others say they vaped both THC and nicotine. A smaller group report they vaped only products containing nicotine.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Patients are coming into hospitals with cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and vomiting. Imaging tests show lung injuries and doctors can’t find infections or other causes.

HOW SERIOUS ARE THESE ILLNESSES?

Many of the reports involve severe, life-threatening illnesses in previously healthy people. Many patients received oxygen. Some needed to be put on breathing machines. Antibiotics didn’t work, and it’s not clear yet whether steroid drugs helped.

“We don’t know how well people will recover from (the lung injuries) and the damage may be permanent,” Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

WHAT ARE OFFICIALS DOING?

Even before the outbreak, schools were struggling to crack down on vaping because the devices are easy for students to hide. More than one in four high school students reported vaping in the past month in the most recent government survey. Health officials have warned for years that the popularity of flavoured vape products among kids could result in lifelong tobacco use.

With concern about teen vaping already high, the health crisis spurred some states to stop the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes or raise the minimum age for buying e-cigarettes to 21. Massachusetts suspended sales of all vape products for four months, a move that’s been challenged in court. The White House announced plans to ban flavoured vape products.

On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission ordered Juul and five other vaping companies to hand over information about how they market e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, criminal investigators from the Food and Drug Administration are focusing on the supply chain to find out what’s making people sick.

WHAT’S THE LATEST RESEARCH?

It’s not final proof, but experts who examined lung tissue from 17 patients say the damage looks like chemical burns, similar to what would be seen in people exposed to poisonous gases. Dr. Brandon Larsen of Mayo Clinic Arizona says he believes toxic fumes are causing at least some of the illnesses. The study was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Incomplete lab testing by FDA continues to find THC and vitamin E acetate, a thickener, in some of the liquids tested, but Schuchat cautioned: “There may be a lot of different nasty things in e-cigarettes and vaping products and they may cause different harms in the lung.”

HOW DO AMERICANS VIEW THE HEALTH DANGERS OF VAPING AND SMOKING?

Americans believe nicotine is a bigger public health threat than THC, according to a survey by researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago. Nearly all adults (90%) believe smoking cigarettes is harmful, and 81% believe vaping nicotine products is harmful.

Fewer see health dangers in marijuana with 65% saying vaping THC is harmful and 58% of adults saying smoking marijuana that contains THC is harmful. The nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 adults was conducted Sept. 19-24.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT E-CIGARETTE SAFETY?

Health experts generally consider e-cigarettes to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes because they don’t contain all the cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco. And some countries – including the United Kingdom – have fully embraced vaping as a public health tool to reduce the deadly toll of traditional tobacco.

U.S. health regulators have generally taken a more cautious approach. In part, that’s because there is virtually no long-term research on the health effects of the vapour produced when e-cigarettes heat a nicotine solution.

The FDA, which regulates nicotine-vaping products, has set a deadline of next May for all e-cigarette manufacturers to submit their products for review. Under FDA rules, only products that represent a net benefit to public health will be allowed to remain on the market.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE RIGHT NOW?

Health officials are urging people to stop vaping, particularly products that contain THC, and to get medical care if they have trouble breathing or chest pain after vaping.

Schuchat acknowledged a concern about black market products. She said states that license marijuana dispensaries are taking steps to make sure the products they regulate are safe, but she added: “With all the data I’ve been seeing, I don’t know what’s safe right now.”

 


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Merger off between Altria and Philip Morris

Altria Group Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) have decided against joining forces as merger talks between the two tobacco leaders end.

“While we believed the creation of a new merged company had the potential to create incremental revenue and cost synergies, we could not reach agreement,” said Altria’s Chairman and CEO Howard Willard. “We look forward to continuing our commercialization of IQOS in the U.S. under our existing arrangement.”

In late 2013, Altria and PMI formed a strategic partnership to bring PMI’s heat-not-burn product IQOS to the United States.

This spring, the Food and Drug Administration approved a Pre Market Tobacco Application for IQOS, paving the way for the product to hit U.S. stores. In September, the first U.S. IQOS retail store at Lenox Square in Atlanta.

IQOS is an electronic device that heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol. Under and exclusive licensing agreement with PMI, Philip Morris USA will commercialize IQOS in the U.S. with Marlboro Heatsticks.

“After much deliberation, the companies have agreed to focus on launching IQOS in the U.S. as part of their mutual interest to achieve a smoke-free future,” added PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos.

Rumors about a possible merger have been around for years, kicking up every few months— with the most recent coming at the end of the summer. On Aug. 27, Altria and PMI did confirm they were in discussions about merging the two companies. However, at the time, Altria said there can be no assurance that any agreement or transaction will result from these discussions.

“While we are dismayed by today’s announcement that PMI and Altria have ended merger talks, we aren’t all that surprised given the length of negotiations (nearly a month since talks were confirmed) and the litany of negative FDA [Food and Drug]/health headlines throughout,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director of tobacco, beverage and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC,

Based in Richmond, Altria’s wholly owned subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. LLC, John Middleton Co., Sherman Group Holdings LLC and its subsidiaries, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd., and Philip Morris Capital Corp.

The company holds equity investments in Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, Juul Labs Inc. and Cronos Group Inc.

PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the United States.

PMI’s smoke-free IQOS product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. Its heat-not-burn product is available for sale in 48 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand.

Originally published at Convenience Store News.


Martha Stewart says CBD products with Canopy likely ready in mid 2020

A CBD line of products Martha Stewart is developing with Canopy Growth will likely hit the market in the middle of next year, said the American food and lifestyle guru.

The pair is working on some “really good projects right now” and if all is approved they would be ready by mid-2020, said Stewart.

“We’re developing different things for the home, for food and for pets at present. I’m also interested in skin care and other things like that,” she said during an on-stage interview at the Elevate Conference in Toronto.

In February, Stewart said she was teaming up with the Smiths Falls, Ont.-based licensed producer in an advisory role to develop a line of products containing cannabidiol or CBD.

Canopy said at the time it would leverage Stewart’s knowledge of consumer products while exploring the use of CBD and other cannabinoids as they related to both humans and pets.

CBD is the non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis and hemp. While pot remains illegal at the federal level south of the border, the U.S. legalized hemp cultivation at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. political climate is becoming more receptive to cannabis with legislation potentially opening the door to the massive market. Earlier this year, the bipartisan STATES ACT – legislation that would amend the Controlled Substances Act and could effectively make cannabis federally legal in states where recreational consumption is legal – was reintroduced in Congress.

And this week, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act – legislation that would offer protections for financial institutions that serve state-authorized cannabis and ancillary businesses.

Stewart also said during the discussion alongside Canopy’s chief executive Mark Zekulin that she hoped that cannabis would be legalized eventually in the U.S.

“There’s been a tremendous stigma attached to it in terms of crime… And I think that, that will all go away.”

She said she ventured into the space because it was an “emerging and exciting market.”

Stewart, who has written several cookbooks, said she isn’t ruling out developing one focused on cooking with cannabis.

“I’m not ready to do it yet, but that might be a possibility,” she said.


Walmart to quit selling e cigarettes amid vaping backlash

Walmart is getting out of the vaping business.

The nation’s largest retailer said that it will stop selling electronic cigarettes at its namesake stores and Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. when it sells out its current inventory.

The retailer said the move is due to “growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity” regarding vaping products. It also comes after several hundred people have mysteriously fallen ill after vaping, and some have died.

Walmart’s decision is the latest blow to the vaping industry, which has tried to position its products as healthier alternatives to smoking cigarettes, which are responsible for 480,000 deaths a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the industry has come under increased scrutiny after the deaths and illnesses – along with a surge in underage vaping.

President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavoured e-cigarettes and vaping products. Michigan banned the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes this week. In June, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes.

The bulk of e-cigarettes are sold through vape shops, which number about 115,000 nationwide, with additional outlets including drug stores, grocery stores and tobacco outlets, industry experts say.

E-cigarettes represent a very small part of Walmart’s nicotine business, which also includes traditional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and nicotine gum, so the impact on the retailer will be small.

But, it will be difficult for vaping companies to replace that access to shoppers given Walmart’s size, said Greg Portell, global lead partner in the consumer and retail practice of A.T. Kearney, a strategy and management consulting firm. Walmart operates more than 5,000 stores under its namesake and Sam’s Club in the U.S.

“Walmart’s size and scale makes their decisions about what products to carry meaningful for the impacted products,” Portell said. “Vaping companies will be especially challenged given the lack of direct consumer access.”

The Vapor Technology Association, a trade group, was quick to slam Walmart’s move against vaping products while keeping cigarettes on its shelves.

“The fact that Walmart is reducing access for adult smokers to regulated vapour products while continuing to sell combustible cigarettes is irresponsible,” Tony Abboud, executive director of the association, said in a statement. “This will drive former adult smokers to purchase more cigarettes.”

More than 500 people have been diagnosed with breathing illnesses after using e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, according to U.S. health officials. An eighth death was reported this week. But health officials still have not identified the cause.

In July, Walmart, which is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including all e-cigarettes, to 21. It also said then that it was in the process of discontinuing the sale of fruit- and dessert-flavoured electronic nicotine delivery systems.

The moves come as Walmart is trying to become a better corporate citizen. It has adopted measures to become more environmentally friendly. It thrust itself in the country’s gun control debate after a mass shooting at one of its stores killed 22 customers in August. Earlier this month it decided to discontinue sales of certain gun ammunition and requested customers no longer openly carry firearms in its stores, even where state laws allow it.

“Increasingly, consumer companies are blurring the line between business and social decisions,” Portell added. “As the risks associated with new categories like vaping become more well known, we would expect retailers to make decisions on what role they want to play in those risks.”

Target says it doesn’t sell electronic cigarettes. CVS Health got out of the cigarette business five years ago, and says it doesn’t sell any vaping devices.


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Business as usual for Juul Canada

Sweeping changes at vaping giant Juul Labs were announced Wednesday, including a new CEO, a complete halt of broadcast, print and digital advertising in the U.S., and the end of lobbying efforts against a ban on vaping flavours proposed by the Trump administration.

In Canada, however, it’s business as usual.

Juul Labs Canada said in an email Wednesday that Juul Labs is a global company and “this announcement impacts the U.S. only.” It didn’t answer a question about how Juul markets its products in Canada.

Health Canada is considering imposing more stringent advertising restrictions on the vaping industry to bring it closer to the outright ban on advertising for tobacco products.

It currently prohibits vaping ads that appeal to minors, promote a lifestyle or feature testimonials.

Despite those restrictions and a variety of additional regulation from the provinces, advertising for vaping products is highly visible in corner stores in many parts in Canada, said David Hammond, a public health professor at the University of Waterloo.

“These products are modern and sleek, they have flavours like strawberry and mango and cotton candy, they’re promoted with those flavours, and they deliver a highly addictive drug (nicotine),” he said.

“Now, you put all of those things together and put them in corner stores, I would suggest it’s not a surprise it appeals to a 16- or 17-year-old kid.”

The company’s decision marks at least the second time within a year that its U.S. and Canadian marketing policies have diverged.

In November 2018, Juul said it would continue to sell mango, fruit, and cucumber flavoured vaping pods in Canadian retail outlets, despite no longer doing so south of the border because they might entice young people to use its products.

The company would not explain at the time why it seemingly saw a link between flavoured products and youth consumption in the States, but not Canada, beyond saying the two markets “are very different.”

Juul and hundreds of smaller e-cigarette companies in the U.S. are fighting for their survival as they face two public health debacles linked to vaping: a mysterious lung illness and rising use of e-cigarettes by teenagers.

Public health officials are investigating hundreds of cases of the breathing ailment but have not yet identified any one product or ingredient.

In an email, Health Canada said it is monitoring the situation in the U.S. and in Canada and is in contact with U.S. authorities to better understand the cause of the illnesses.

“Health Canada will continue to monitor all available data sources and surveillance systems and will take additional action, if warranted and as appropriate, to protect health and safety,” the email said.

Meanwhile, underage vaping has reached epidemic levels, according to top U.S. government health officials, with more than one in four high school students using e-cigarettes in the last month.

The growth in use of vaping products in Canada among young people is likely just as high, Hammond said.

“I would hope that Juul Canada would seek to protect its young consumers in the same way as in the U.S.,” he said, adding other vape companies are also using irresponsible promotions and seem to be willing to continue with it until the day it is made illegal.

“They have all pledged to prevent youth smoking yet a pledge is meaningless.”

Juul entered the Canadian market in August 2018, vowing to help Canada’s five million adult smokers quit by providing an alternative to combustible cigarettes.

It said its Juul devices, USB docking stations and flavoured vaping liquids that contain nicotine would be available for purchase in convenience stores, vape shops and on its e-commerce site.

Hammond said Juul initially offered only high-potency nicotine product in Canada and was slower in Canada than in the U.S. to give lower-dose options.

In July, Juul opened its first corporate store in Canada in Toronto. It opened its second in Edmonton two weeks ago.


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Juul CEO resigns as company revises marketing efforts

K.C. Crosthwaite is taking over as the new CEO of Juul Labs in the wake of Kevin Burns’ announcement Sept. 25 that he is stepping down. The company is also making sweeping changes to its marketing efforts in the United States.

In a statement, Burns’ fellow co-founders, James Monsees and Adam Bowen, said: “Kevin transformed our start-up into a global business, and we are incredibly grateful for his commitment to and passion for our mission. K.C. has long understood the potential of alternatives to combustible cigarettes and the need to combat youth usage and we look forward to having him lead our team during this crucial phase.”

Incoming CEO K.C. Crosthwaite brings more than two decades of global operational, management, stakeholder and regulatory engagement experience. As chief growth officer at Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., he oversaw the company’s expansion into alternatives to combustible cigarettes and played a key role in the commercial and regulatory efforts related to the U.S. launch of IQOS.  He also served as an observer on Juul Labs’ board of directors.  As reported by Convenience Store News, Altria holds a $12.8-billion minority stake in San Francisco-based Juul.

In addition, effective immediately, Juul Labs announced the company is:

  • Suspending all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S.
  • Refraining from lobbying the U.S. Administration on its draft guidance and committing to fully support and comply with the final policy when effective

Commenting on the announcement, Crosthwaite said: “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. 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.”

Over the course of Burns’ tenure, JUUL Labs grew from a firm with fewer than 300 hundred employees operating in the U.S. to a company with thousands of employees and operations in 20 countries around the world. The company says Burn implemented industry-leading manufacturing and quality control standards, while also overseeing what it calls “the implementation of industry-leading actions to combat underage use of vapor products.”

“Working at Juul Labs has been an honor and I still believe the company’s mission of eliminating combustible cigarettes is vitally important,” said Burns. “Since joining Juul Labs, I have worked non-stop, helping turn a small firm into a worldwide business, so a few weeks ago I decided that now was the right time for me to step down. I am grateful to be able to confidently hand the reins to someone with K.C.’s skill set, which is well-suited to the next phase of the company’s journey.”

In addition, Juul Labs says it will stop supporting a ballot measure to overturn an anti-vaping law in San Francisco, effectively killing the campaign.

The San Francisco-based vape products company announced Sept. 30 that it will stop funding Proposition C after donating nearly US$19 million.

San Francisco passed a measure in June suspending the sale of e-cigarettes. Proposition C would permit sales to adults.

Although the measure remains on November’s ballot, the Yes on Proposition C campaign says it won’t be continuing its support efforts.

Juul says its decision was part of a companywide review from newly appointed CEO K.C. Crosthwaite. It came as the company is under investigation into concerns about its advertising.

The announcement also came as a 14th U.S. death related to vaping was reported in Nebraska.