October 17th saw an announcement by JUUL that they would be pulling several of their most popular e-cigarette pod flavors from the U.S. market, including mango, creme, fruit, and cucumber. According to CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, these JUUL flavors will return only after review of and approval by the FDA. This comes a year after the company announced that sale of these flavors would be restricted solely to their own online store. While this appears to be a show of good faith on JUUL's part ahead of impending local and national flavor bans, they have chosen to continue to allow mint and menthol flavored pods to be sold in retail locations across the country and on their website.
Crosthwaite claims that this is in the interest of "...earning the trust of society..." regarding the company's commitment to curbing the youth vaping epidemic. As a result, this announcement also included news that JUUL will, until further notice, be suspending all product advertising in the U.S. market.
So what does all of this mean for the future of the vaping industry? Well, the fact that the recent crop of vaping legislation has begun to affect even JUUL is concerning. Flavor bans (whether proposed or in effect) are obviously having a considerable impact on attitudes towards vaping.
What is even more worrisome, however, is that the root cause of the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses is being misdiagnosed and misrepresented. Illegal THC cartridges are mostly, if not entirely, to blame for the illnesses and deaths that have occurred as a result of vaping. The claim of a teen vape epidemic as what's to blame for sudden health issues connected to vaping is largely unsubstantiated and frankly, inaccurate.
One very real cause for concern regarding flavor bans and underage sales is how kids are getting these products. Just like with tobacco products, you must be 18+ (or older, in some states) to purchase e-liquid and other vaping products, regardless of whether they are flavored or not. This is not an issue when it comes to legitimate, established vape shops who sell tested products and age verify their customers. Small smoke shops, however, are a different story. In many cases, the quality control of the products sold at smoke shops is very poor. They buy from less than reputable sources and sell such a large variety of products (both vape and non-vape related) that it's impossible for them to verify the quality and legitimacy of everything they sell. Add to that the fact that many of these stores don't have nearly as strict an ID policy as they should, and then you can understand why many of the problems we're seeing stem from seedy smoke shops.
Legislators and media outlets have a responsibility to look into these vaping-related health problems honestly and comprehensively. Not only do they owe the vaping industry the same consideration that has been afforded the tobacco industry for decades, they owe adults the ability to freely choose healthier alternatives to combustible cigarettes. Removing flavors such as those offered in JUUL flavor pods from the market will only serve to drive many adult vapers (many of whom are former smokers) back to cigarettes and their associated health risks.
But in the meantime, we here at BLANKZ! are still going strong! We are proud to continue to offer alternatives for adult vapers to stay off cigarettes and stay healthy. Our Refillable JUUL Compatible Pods are a perfect way to customize your flavor experience. Simply grab your salt nic e-liquid flavor of choice, fill the pod, and vape. With how easy it is to customize your flavors or nicotine strength, and the option to refill BLANKZ! Pods (each pod can be refilled up to three times), flavored vaping has never been easier!