According to CNN, a new study by the American Cancer Society showed that after Juul stopped selling flavored cartridges in the United States, in the following key months, menthol and menthol quickly dominated the e-cigarette market.
Juul, an e-cigarette giant, faced pressure from regulators to deal with the prevalence of smoking among young people. At the end of 2019, it announced that it would stop selling certain flavors of products, including fruit and mango flavors, in American stores.
Juul's voluntary decision to remove certain flavors from American stores in 2019 seems to have affected the entire market. Before Juul's decision, fruit-flavored products accounted for 33% of total e-cigarette sales, which fell to only 9% by April of the following year.
However, sales of menthol and mint products soared, from 33% in November to more than 62% in April. The study analyzed data from company Nielsen and Juul captured all growth.
During this period, at least in the retail channels tracked by Nielsen, the overall market for mint and menthol products grew from approximately US $ 95.5 million to as high as US $ 209.5 million per month.
Sales of tobacco flavoring products also increased from approximately 17% of the market to 22% of the market.
The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday, and the study showed that Juul captured 91% of this increase.
As federal regulations loomed, Juul announced in November 2019 that it would stop selling menthol cartridges in the United States, but the company continued to sell menthol products.
A few months later, although the US Food and Drug Administration (US Food and Drug Administration) basically banned mint flavored products, in January, the agency made an exception. Menthol products with a tobacco flavor can still be sold.
In addition to classic tobacco and Virginia tobacco, Juul continues to sell its menthol cartridge products today.
Critics believe that there is almost no difference between menthol and the now-discontinued mints, both of which have the risk of attracting young users.
Although the company stopped selling fruit products in the United States, the researchers found that the overall sales of fruit flavors were still growing between April and September 2019, when they accounted for 15.8% of the market.
According to researchers, other companies (that is, a brand called NJOY) took over from where Juul gave up fruit flavors. Later, NJOY followed the new FDA regulations. NJOY no longer sells fruit-flavored products, but the company still provides menthol.
Alex S. Liber, a senior scientist in the American Cancer Society's Economic and Health Policy Research Program, said one of the findings of the study is that attempts by companies to impose their own restrictions cannot improve public health.
That is to say, even if Juul voluntarily withdraws fruit flavoring products from the market, the increase in sales of Juul competitors' fruit flavoring products and the increase in sales of Juul's other flavors (especially mint / menthol) quickly offset this.
Liber said that the impact of the ban on Juul's sales is short-lived.
Juul continues to sell a variety of flavors in other countries, including fruit and mint flavored products.
Many experts believe that the company's e-cigarette products encourage young people to smoke e-cigarettes, but Juul has long stated that its customer base is adult smokers.
The company said in a statement that it does not intend to attract under-age users and will continue to seek to win the trust of society through cooperation with regulatory agencies and public health officials.