E-cigarette users will soon have slightly fewer options. Altria, parent company of Marlboro maker Phillip Morris USA, announced Thursday that it will stop selling e-cigarette refill pods and most of its flavored e-cigarette products, the Wall Street Journal reports. During a call with analysts, CEO Howard Willard said that the company is concerned about youth access to e-cigarettes, per Market Watch, and will stop selling the products until the FDA makes a final ruling on them or youth access to e-cigs is otherwise addressed "We're taking this action because we don't want to risk contributing to the issue," he said. Studies show that more than 2 million kids and teens use nicotine vaping devices, according to USA Today.
And they are attracted to flavors, such as strawberry brulee and hazelnut cream, that sound more like they belong to desserts and specialty drinks than to tobacco products. The affected Altria products include MarkTen Elite, Apex by MarkTen, and all flavored products, except for tobacco flavor, menthol, and mint. A spokesman for the FDA, which has threatened to ban flavored e-cig products, tells the WSJ that it "appreciates any voluntary steps companies can take to address the youth access and appeal of e-cigarettes." The paper notes that Altria's move puts pressure on Juul, which dominates the e-cigarette market through selling flavored pods. Juul did not comment on the story. (E-cigarettes have been known to explode.)