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Removal of Flavored E-Cigarette Products Likely Ineffective

Despite Juul’s voluntary removal, other sellers filled the void, while Juul saw growth among other flavors

FRIDAY, April 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Juul sales recovered within weeks following a dip after the company withdrew some flavored products from stores, even surpassing sales before the withdraw, according to a study published online April 16 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Alex Liber, M.S.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues used Scantrack data on sales of electronic cigarettes in the United States (January 2015 to October 2019), provided by The Nielsen Company. Aggregated national sales values were assessed monthly for five flavor categories (fruit, menthol/mint, sweet, tobacco, and other).

The researchers found that the expansion of Juul sales coincided with an expansion in fruit-flavor sales, reaching 33.3 percent of sales ($96,486,000) in October 2018. Menthol/mint came to dominate the e-cigarette market when Juul withdrew fruit and sweet flavors from stores in November 2018, with fruit flavors accounting for 9.1 percent of sales ($30,494,000) by April 2019. During this period, the share of menthol/mint flavor spiked from 33.0 to 62.5 percent, with a smaller increase in tobacco flavors (16.6 to 22.3 percent). There was a new surge in fruit-flavor sales by non-Juul brands through 2019.

“Our study shows when exceptions to regulatory policies are made, the market will fill the void. The growth of fruit-flavored sales experienced by NJOY once Juul stopped selling mango-flavored e-cigarettes is a striking indication of that happening,” Liber said in a statement. “It is highly unlikely that overall youth use declined given the short-lived impact on sales trends for Juul cartridges and the rapid recovery of flavored cartridge sales within the very retail channels that should have seen the largest declines from Juul’s actions.”

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