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39 states investigating Juul’s marketing of vaping products

Company halts Indonesia e-cigarette sales, throwing Asia expansion in doubt

Unknown-1Investigators from 39 states will look into the marketing and sales of vaping products by Juul Labs, including whether the company targeted youths and made misleading claims about nicotine content in its devices, officials announced Tuesday.

Attorneys general from Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and Texas said they will be leading the multi-state investigation into San Francisco-based Juul, which also is facing lawsuits by teenagers and others who say they became addicted to the company’s vaping products.

The state officials said they also will be investigating the company’s claims about the risk, safety and effectiveness of its vaping products as smoking cessation devices.

“I will not prejudge where this investigation will lead,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement, “but we will follow every fact and are prepared to take strong action in conjunction with states across the nation to protect public health.”

Juul released a statement saying it has halted television, print and digital advertising and eliminated most flavours in response to concerns by government officials and others.

“We will continue to reset the vapour category in the U.S. and seek to earn the trust of society by working co-operatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes,” the statement said.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said underage vaping has become an epidemic across the country.

“I cannot sit on the sidelines while this public health epidemic grows, and our next generation becomes addicted to nicotine,” Moody said.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford added, “Preying on children and those looking for help to quit smoking is the one of the most despicable examples of risking people’s lives for corporate profit.”

The brainchild of two Stanford University design students, Juul launched in 2015 and quickly rocketed to the top of the multibillion-dollar vaping market.

The company initially sold its high-nicotine pods in fruit and dessert flavours, including mango, mint and creme. The products have become a scourge in U.S. high schools, with one in four teenagers reportedly vaping in the past month, according to the latest federal figures. Juul is the most popular brand, preferred by 60% of high schoolers.

Juul’s meteoric rise has been followed by a hasty retreat in recent months, amid a nationwide political backlash over vaping. Although Juulremains the dominant player in the U.S. vaping market, the company has made several concessions, including halting its advertising and pulling all its flavours except menthol and tobacco from the market. The Food and Drug Administration recently put in place flavour restrictions designed to curb use of small, pod-based e-cigarettes like Juul.

The FDA and a congressional panel have ongoing investigations into whether the company’s early marketing efforts – which included online influencers and product giveaways – deliberately targeted minors.

Nine attorneys general have previously announced lawsuits against the company, most alleging that the company adopted the playbook of Big Tobacco by luring teens with youth-oriented marketing while failing to stop underage sales.

Earlier this month Massachusetts’ Maura Healey sued the company, citing company records to allege that Juul bought advertisements on websites designed for teens and children, including Seventeen.com, Nickjr.com and Cartoonnetwork.com.

Meanwhile, according to a report in The Telegram, Juul is halting sales in Indonesia, citing concerns that it can’t stop retailers from selling its high-nicotine e-cigarettes to young people in a largely unregulated tobacco market.


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Marlboro maker slammed by Juul investment, takes $4B charge

Unknown-1The company that makes Marlboro cigarettes saw in late 2018 the opportunity to offset declining tobacco sales with a $13 billion investment in Juul, the e-cigarette maker.

That investment has come at a tremendous cost, the latest a $4.1 billion hit announced Thursday by Altria as legal cases against the company continue to mount. That follows a $4.5 billion writedown in October, when Altria slashed the value of its investment in Juul Labs by a third.

Since October, the company said the number of legal cases against Juul have spiked 80%. A wave of vaping illnesses and deaths have raised concerns about the products. The outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries continues, but new cases are on the decline.

More than 2,500 cases of vaping illness have been reported by all 50 states. There have been 54 deaths and more deaths are under investigation.

Tobacco companies like Philip Morris International are attempting to develop new technologies that could serve as an alternative to traditional tobacco use.

Smoking has been declining for more than five decades. Some 42% of U.S. adults smoked in the early 1960s. That was down to 14% in the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Efforts to capitalize on new technologies such as e-cigarettes is crucial for for companies like Altria, which took a 35% stake in Juul at the end of 2018. But few saw the risks involved.

The Richmond, Virginia, company on Thursday reported that it had swung to a loss in the fourth quarter from the associated costs, citing burgeoning legal cases that it expects to grow.

It also announced revised terms for its investment in Juul. Juul will restructure its board to include two directors designated by Altria, three independent directors, the Juul CEO and three directors designated by Juul stockholders other than Altria. The board restructuring will take place once Juul receives antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission. Juul will add a nominating committee and a litigation oversight committee to its existing compensation and audit committees once it receives antitrust clearance.

Altria Group Inc. now expects no earnings contributions from Juul through 2022, and it’s lowering its adjusted earnings growth forecast for 2020 through 2022 to between 4% and 7%. It previously had forecast 5% to 8% growth.

For 2020, Altria anticipates adjusted earnings of $4.39 to $4.51 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet predict $4.45 per share.

Shares fell slightly before the market opened.

 


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Altria CEO says company committed to multiple tobacco platforms

Despite some challenges facing alternative tobacco products today, Altria Group Inc. remains committed to its harm reduction journey.

“We are in the midst of a remarkable transformation within the tobacco industry. Once predictable, the industry has become increasingly dynamic and complex and while this evolution may pose short-term challenges, we believe tobacco harm reduction is a significant opportunity for the industry and adult tobacco consumers,” Altria Chairman and CEO Howard Willard said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 31.

“We believe that in the next decade, non-combustible products can surpass combustibles as the preferred choice among adult tobacco consumers,” he continued. “We intend to lead this historic transformation with our unmatched portfolio of non-combustible products and investments.”

To that end, Altria made several investments in the alternative tobacco segment over the past year. It took a $12.8 billion stake in Juul Labs Inc., and entered the oral nicotine category with a definitive agreement to acquire 80% of certain companies of Burger Söhne Holding AG that will commercialize On! products worldwide. It also took a $1.8 billion minority stake in Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group Inc.

“We assessed our portfolio and believe that we have addressed gaps with investments in e-vapor and oral nicotine pouches, as well as an adjacent investment in cannabis,” Willard said. “Today, we believe we have the strongest portfolio across multiple tobacco platforms and are well positioned for future growth in a rapidly evolving U.S. tobacco industry.”

E-VAPOR SEGMENT

Altria’s stake in San Francisco-based Juul equals a 35% economic investment. As Willard explained, the tobacco company invested in Juul based on its belief that the vapor company’s product development strength, early signs of brand equity and potential to convert adult smokers set it apart from all other e-vapor products in the market.

However, “dramatic shifts in the current e-vapor regulatory and marketplace environments” has led Altria to revise its transaction assumptions, the CEO said.

In preparing its financials for the quarter, Altria performed a valuation analysis on its Juul investment, which considered multiple regulatory and marketplace scenarios.

“In aggregate, we’re now projecting lower e-vapor category volumes in the U.S. vs. our original estimates, which resulted in a third quarter non-cash impairment charge of $4.5 billion related to our Juul investment,” Willard explained. “Also factoring into this determination were other changes to our original assumptions. For example, we expect it may take longer for Juul to realize the strong margin performance that we previously communicated.”

Altria also revised its estimates of Juul’s international business as the result of recent market development, he added.

“Despite this impairment charge, we remain committed to Juul’s success. We are pleased with the recent decisions by Juul to change leadership, and we are optimistic about Juul’s focus and prioritization in key areas such as establishing industry-leading responsible practices and pursuing regulatory authorization of their products,” Willard said.

ORAL NICOTINE SEGMENT

Altria closed on its investment in On! products during the latest quarter. With the transaction completed, Altria is now focused on retail and digital engagement with the adult tobacco consumer.

For more, visit Convenience Store News. 


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Juul halts U.S. sales of popular mint flavoured e cigarettes

Juul Labs said Thursday it will halt U.S. sales of its bestselling , mint-flavoured 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.”

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, one in four high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18.

Under fire for its alleged role in sparking the vaping craze among teens, Juul has made a series of concessions to try and weather a crackdown from local, state and federal officials. It stopped selling popular fruit and dessert flavours in stores last year, and last month, stopped selling them online, too.

Earlier, the company replaced its CEO and pledged to stop advertising its products. For years, Juul has argued that its e-cigarettes are intended to help adult smokers switch to a less harmful nicotine product. But its early marketing campaigns were mainly on social media and featured young, stylish models. The company subsequently shuttered its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

After halting mint sales, Juul will only sell menthol and tobacco flavours. Mint and menthol accounted for nearly 60% of the company’s retail sales in the past year, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other flavoured e-cigarettes have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users. Federal health officials are expected to soon release plans for removing most vaping flavours from the market, and Juul has said it will support and comply with that government policy.

In September, President Donald Trump said the flavour ban would include mint and menthol flavours. However, no details have yet been released, leading vaping opponents to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Representatives for those groups immediately criticized Juul for not also pulling its menthol flavour.

“If they really wanted to keep the kids away they would also get rid of menthol,” said Meredith Berkman of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes. “We hope the administration will understand that too _ they should be taking menthol off the market.”

Mint and menthol have often been treated interchangeably by vaping researchers.

But a new study released Monday suggests menthol doesn’t have the same appeal as mint. The study found that mint was the most popular flavour among Juul users in 10th and 12th grades and the second-most popular among middle-schoolers. In contrast, less than 6% of teenagers across all grades preferred menthol. The study by University of Southern California researchers was based on a survey that included 1,800 Juul users.

Flavours have been banned from traditional cigarettes in the U.S. since 2009, except for menthol.

San Francisco-based Juul is the bestselling e-cigarette brand in the U.S. The privately held company has been besieged by legal troubles, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juulusers who claim they became addicted to nicotine through the company’s products.

E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, which makes cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive.


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Altria takes a $4.5 billion hit on Juul amid vaping backlash

UnknownMarlboro-maker Altria is taking a big financial hit from its multibillion-dollar bet on e-cigarettes.

The tobacco giant on Oct. 31st slashed the value of its investment in the beleaguered vaping company Juul Labs by a third, dragging down its results to a financial loss for the quarter.

Richmond, Virginia-based Altria bought roughly a third of Juul for $13 billion last December. But executives said they would take a $4.5 billion write-down on the investment amid a growing crackdown on Juul and the vaping industry at large.

Since last year, Juul has been hit by new federal and state investigations into its marketing amid an explosion of underage vaping among teenagers. Separately, an outbreak of lung injuries tied to vaping has led to new government warnings around e-cigarettes. No single product or ingredient has been identified as the root cause.

Altria executives said the cut to Juul’s value reflects recent vaping bans by state and local authorities and expected restrictions from the federal government. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon outline new restrictions on vaping flavours, a step intended to curb youth appeal.

Juul has made a number of voluntary concessions in an effort to weather the firestorm, including halting product advertising and pulling several of its flavoured products .

A lawsuit filed in California earlier this week by a former Juul executive levelled new allegations against the company, including that it disregarded quality procedures and knowingly shipped of tainted mint-flavoured pods to customers.

Juul called the lawsuit “baseless.” And the company’s former CEO, Kevin Burns, rejected the account.

“As CEO, I had the company make huge investments in product quality, and the facts will show this claim is absolutely false and pure fiction,” said Burns, through a spokesperson. Burns was replaced as CEO last month by K.C. Crosthwaite, an executive from Altria.

In a regulatory filing, Altria revealed that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the company’s role in the resignation of Burns and “the hiring by Juul of any current or former Altria director, executive or employee.”

Under the management shake-up last month, Crosthwaite announced that another Altria executive, Joe Murillo, would become Juul’s chief regulatory officer. Murillo previously worked as Altria’s head of regulatory affairs.

Altria Group Inc. said it posted a quarterly loss of $2.6 billion, or $1.39 per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. Those results included the $4.5 billion pretax write-down of Juul. Adjusted earnings of $1.19 per share beat the average Street estimate of $1.14 per share, based on an analyst survey by Zacks.

Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes and Copenhagen chew, has been working to shift its business away from traditional tobacco amid steady declines in smoking.

The company recently began selling a heat-not-burn cigarette alternative, iQOS , made by Philip Morris International. Altria is marketing the first-of-a-kind device in the U.S. under a licensing deal with the international tobacco maker. Both companies say the device could appeal to smokers who have been unwilling to switch to vaping products, which use a nicotine solution, not tobacco.

Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA, said total revenue was virtually flat at $6.86 billion. Its adjusted revenue, which excludes excise taxes, totalled $5.41 billion and beat estimates.

The company still expects to earn $4.19 to $4.27 per share for the full year, representing growth of 5% to 7% over last year. It lowered its long-term growth target of 7% to 9% to a new range of 5% to 8% growth for 2020 through 2022.


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Juul halts U.S. sales of fruit, dessert flavours for e cigarettes

Juul Labs stopped selling fruit and dessert flavours 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 that blames its flavoured-nicotine products for hooking a generation of teenagers on electronic cigarettes.

Juul, the bestselling e-cigarette brand in the U.S., has been besieged by scrutiny, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juul users who claim they became addicted to nicotine through the company’s products. And the Trump administration has proposed banning nearly all vaping flavours.

Still, the company’s latest step is unlikely to satisfy its critics.

The flavours affected by the announcement – mango, creme, fruit and cucumber – account for less than 10% of Juul’s sales. The flavours had only been sold through Juul’s website, after the company pulled them from stores last November.

Juul will continue selling its most popular flavours, mint and menthol, for now. A spokesman said the company is reviewing its products and has not made “any final decisions.”

Mint and menthol account for most of Juul’s retail sales, according to analysts, and are the most popular flavours among teens.

The San Francisco-based company will also continue to sell its tobacco-flavoured vaping pods.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Matthew Myers said that Juul’s decision to keep selling mint and menthol shows “it isn’t serious about preventing youth use.”

“Juul knows that 64% of high school e-cigarette users now use mint or menthol flavours and this number is growing all the time,” Myers said in a statement.

His group and others are urging the Trump administration to follow through on its proposal to ban all vaping flavours except tobacco.

The sales concession comes less than a month after a major shake-up at the privately held firm, in which it pledged to stop advertising and agreed to not lobby against the administration’s proposed flavour ban.

“We must reset the vapour category by earning the trust of society and working co-operatively with regulators, policymakers and stakeholders,” the company’s new CEO, K.C. Crosthwaite, said in a statement. Crosthwaite was named CEO last month. He previously worked as an executive for Marlboro-maker Altria, which is also Juul’s biggest investor.

This week’s move marks a remarkable shift for Juul, which had argued for years that its flavours help adult smokers quit cigarettes.

But the announcement doesn’t necessarily mean the permanent end of Juul’s flavours. Instead, Crosthwaite said the company would defer to the decision of the Food and Drug Administration, which has set a deadline of next May for manufacturers to submit their vaping products for federal review.

Under the agency’s standards, only vaping products that represent a net benefit to public health are supposed to remain on the market.

If the company can show that its products are less harmful than cigarettes and can help adults switch, they could presumably return. Many experts, however, doubt the company will be able to win the FDA endorsement, given the popularity of Juul among underage users.

Underage vaping has reached epidemic levels, according to health officials. In the latest government survey, more than 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month despite federal law banning sales to those under 18.

While Juul agreed to stop lobbying against a flavour ban, other industry players haven’t. The Vapor Technology Association is launching a national marketing campaign aimed at stopping the White House plan by using the slogan, “I vape, I vote.”

A poll released Thursday shows that Americans narrowly favour banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes, although younger adults are more likely to oppose the idea.

Banning flavours is supported by 52% of adults of all ages and opposed by 44%, according to the poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. But 63% of adults ages 18 to 29 oppose banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes.

The poll involved random calls to the cellphones and landlines of 1,205 adults and was conducted Oct. 3-8. The margin of sampling error for all respondents was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

In a separate public health crisis, the federal government is investigating nearly 1,500 cases of lung damage linked to vaping, some of them fatal. Many patients said they vaped THC, marijuana’s intoxicating chemical, with bootleg devices, but officials have not yet implicated any common product or ingredient.


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Juul Labs Canada opens retail store in Alberta

Today JUUL Labs Canada opened a retail store in Edmonton – the company’s first store in Alberta.

In a statement, the company said: “This 18+ store is a place to connect directly with adult smokers – to understand their switching journey and help them find products that can help them switch away from cigarettes. All visitors will be subject to strict age verification before entry.”

This is Juul’s second brick-and-mortar location in Canada. It debuted the concept in Toronto (19+ only) in July, along with Juul C1. The company’s connected device includes features that allow users to monitor their nicotine usage, provide access restrictions to prevent unauthorized use and find their device if it is lost.

“This store in Edmonton is our second location in Canada, and we’re committed to providing environments for adult smokers to better understand how vaping products, like JUUL, can help them switch from cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death worldwide,” Michael Nederhoff, general manager, Juul Labs Canada, said in a release. “Staff at the JUUL store can work with current adult smokers to find what works best for them – selecting devices, flavours, and nicotine strengths that best meet their switching choice.”

While there is much furore in the United States, with moves to ban flavours, flavours are still legal in Canada. At one time, Health Canada stated: “Flavours help make vaping liquids palatable to adult smokers seeking a less harmful alternative to tobacco. Therefore, the use of flavours in vaping liquids is not prohibited under the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act.”


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Juul Labs piloting connected device in Canada

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 12.18.17 PMOn the back of opening its first retail store last week, Juul Labs Canada is debuting its new Juul C1, the company’s connected device, which includes features that allow users to monitor their nicotine usage, provide access restrictions to prevent unauthorized use and find their Juul device if it is lost.

“Our retail store will be a place where we can speak directly with adult smokers about our products, including our connected device, as they look to switch from combustible cigarettes to a less harmful alternative,” said Michael Nederhoff, general manager, Juul Labs Canada, said in a release.

The new Juul C1 connected device can be paired via Bluetooth to a new mobile application. The app is being piloted in Canada to explore and refine its functionalities. The connected device is available on Juul.ca to Juul online account holders with Android smartphones and for sale at the new retail store.

The device, when paired with the app, will include a usage monitor that provides adult smokers with greater visibility into their usage, allowing them to monitor in real-time the number of puffs they take daily, weekly and monthly. The connected device will also provide access restrictions at the user level to prevent unauthorized use and provides adult smokers with the ability to find their Juul device if it is lost.

“As a company, we are always looking to build on our product portfolio to reach a broader range of smokers, while limiting appeal to youth,” said Nederhoff. “We believe the connected device will provide current adult smokers with features they will find valuable. Based on feedback, we plan to refine and enhance the functionality of the app to further improve the user experience.”

The pilot program will continue to run over the coming weeks. JUUL Labs Canada will evaluate feedback and determine whether to expand the device and app further in the country.


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Juul opens first North American store in Toronto

UnknownE-cigarette maker Juul is opening its first retail store in Canada .

The Juul store in Toronto’s west-end, which opened to customers Monday, marks the California-based company’s first brick-and-mortar location in North America.

The stores opens mid mounting concern about the rise of teen vaping. Upon entering, Juul says all visitors will be asked to provide identification to prove they meet Ontario’s legal age of 19 to purchase vaping products before they can pass through the clouded glass doors concealing the offerings from public view.

Those who gain entry will find Juul’s devices and cartridges laid out on tables in the sleek showroom style of an Apple store. Patrons can interact with the devices, but not test them, because vaping is prohibited indoors.

At a media preview this week, Michael Nederhoff, general manager of Juul Labs in Canada, said the store was designed to be an “educational venue” for adult smokers looking to learn about vaping.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 11.47.03 AM

But as Juul has emerged as Canada’s leading vaping brand, critics say the company is at risk of creating a new generation of nicotine addicts in light of recent research suggesting that the prevalence of teenage vaping has nearly doubled.

In May 2018, Ottawa formally legalized vaping, opening the door for international vaping brands such as Juul to enter the Canadian market.

Since then, Juul has captured a 78% share of Canada’s vape market, with its products available at more than 13,000 vape shops and convenience stores across the country, said Nederhoff.

Nick Kadysh, Juul’s director of government relations, said the company sees youth vaping as “completely unacceptable” and has taken steps to prevent its products from getting into the wrong hands.

He cited efforts such as using third-party age verification for online sales, and sending secret shoppers to check roughly 150 stores per month to make sure they’re carding customers and following Juul’s restrictions on bulk purchases. He said retailers who don’t comply may either be “blacklisted” or reported to Health Canada.

But David Hammond, a public health professor at the University of Waterloo, said Juul and other e-cigarette makers need to go further to stem the 74% surge in vaping by Canadian teens that his research suggests.

Hammond led a study published in the British Medical Journal in June based on online surveys of Canadians aged 16 to 19 in 2017 and 2018.

The researchers found that the number of Canadian teens who said they had vaped in the last month increased to 14.6% in 2018 from 8.4% in 2017.

Hammond said the 2018 surveys straddled the month before and after Juul hit stores in Canada, and within weeks of becoming available, the brand had surged to become the third most popular among Canadian teens.

He said the brand’s soaring sales in Canada are particularly alarming in light of trends in the U.S., where researchers found the increase in Juul use accounted for more than two-thirds of the overall rise in youth vaping.

Last week, Juul executives were called before U.S. Congress to field questions from lawmakers about whether the company tried to market its products to youth.

House members pointed to internal documents indicating that Juul planned to push its products on social media and offered funding to schools for anti-vaping education in a program that was quashed after the company learned that big tobacco had backed similar anti-smoking efforts decades earlier.

Juul executives in Canada said neither of those strategies were attempted in Canada, and the company has even advocated for Ottawa to ban social media marketing of vaping products.

Earlier this year, Health Canada proposed new measures to ban the promotion of e-cigarettes in public places, stores and media where young people are likely to encounter them, including point-of-sale advertisements.

Kadysh said the restriction would hinder Juul’s ability to reach adult smokers when they’re buying cigarettes at their local convenience store and encourage them to switch to what is believed to be a less harmful alternative.

For Hammond, this reluctance speaks volumes about Juul’s commitment to preventing youth vaping.

“I think it is (disingenuous) at best for any company to suggest that those types of ads don’t reach kids when it is literally inches from the candy,” he said.

Last month, San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes in a bid to curb underage use. But Hammond said he doesn’t think a similar prohibition would be feasible or desirable in Canada.

“We can actually control these products more by having them regulated than just trying to push them under the blanket,” he said.

“I think it would be a shame if we had to ban them outright because of their potential to help with adult smokers, but we need to find some way of reducing access to kids for sure.”

The retail store will sell JUUL C1, the company’s connected device, which includes features that allow users to monitor their nicotine usage, provide access restrictions to prevent unauthorized use and find their JUUL device if it is lost.

The JUUL C1 connected device can be paired via Bluetooth to a new mobile application. The app is being piloted in Canada to explore and refine its functionalities.

The device, when paired with the app, will include a usage monitor that provides adult smokers with greater visibility into their usage, allowing them to monitor in real-time the number of puffs they take daily, weekly and monthly. The connected device will also provide access restrictions at the user level to prevent unauthorized use and provides adult smokers with the ability to find their JUUL device if it is lost.

“As a company, we are always looking to build on our product portfolio to reach a broader range of smokers, while limiting appeal to youth,” said Nederhoff. “We believe the connected device will provide current adult smokers with features they will find valuable. Based on feedback, we plan to refine and enhance the functionality of the app to further improve the user experience.”

The pilot program will continue to run over the coming weeks. JUUL Labs Canada will evaluate feedback and determine whether to expand the device and app further in the country.

With files from Michelle Warren


Juul considers opening stores in Texas: Reports

E-cigarette maker and vape company Juul Labs is exploring plans to open its own U.S. retail shops, according to The Wall Street Journal and other U.S-based news outlets.

While the company has not released any official statement on the matter, the reports cite an unnamed company insider as the source of the information.

Reuters reported: “The company has not made a final decision on the stores, which would only admit people aged 21 and above, the source added, asking not to be named as the matter is confidential.”

The reports come in the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposing restrictions that would prohibit convenience stores and gas stations there from selling e-cigarette flavours other than tobacco, mint and menthol. Juul has a strong following for its mango, vanilla, fruit and cucumber flavoured pods.

Reuters said: “The first store would open in Texas, if the company were to go through with its plan, the source said, adding that Juul is eyeing cities with high smoking rates.”

According to the reports, Juul is exploring locations in Dallas and Houston and would only sell tobacco, mint and menthol flavours in its stores.