Juul Labs said Thursday it will halt US sales of its best-selling, mint-flavored 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, the AP reports. "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, 1 in 4 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 concessions to try to weather a crackdown from officials. It stopped selling popular fruit and dessert flavors in stores last year, and last month, stopped selling them online, too. Earlier, the company replaced its CEO and pledged to stop advertising. Now, Juul will only sell menthol and tobacco flavors. Mint and menthol accounted for nearly 60% of the company's retail sales in the past year, according to data compiled by a Wells Fargo analyst. The two have often been treated interchangeably by vaping researchers. "It's just semantics," said a Stanford University expert, per NBC. "Young people are going to switch to menthol." But a new study released Monday suggests menthol doesn't have the same appeal as mint.
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