Juul is regulating itself before the Food and Drug Administration does it for them.
As of this morning, the electronic-cigarette startup is pulling its fun fruit-flavored products from brick-and-mortar vape stores and putting it out of the reach of cool teens. That means would-be mango, cucumber, fruit, and creme vapers will have to buy their favorite flavored Juul pods online, where the company has age-verification controls that require government-issued ID and their name, date of birth, permanent address, and the last four digits of their social security number. (And if you steal your big brother’s, you will be in big trouble, mister.)
Juul is also adding additional protections, such as two-factor authentication and a real-time photo requirement to match a user’s face against an uploaded ID. Of course, menthol- and tobacco-flavored products will still be available in stores.
In the hopes of cutting down on teen smoking, the company is also increasing its secret shopper program to ensure age requirements are being met at retail outlets. They are also getting rid of their social media accounts and monitoring third-party accounts for inappropriate content, which they admit accounts for more than 99% of all Juul social media content.
“We don’t want anyone who doesn’t smoke, or already use nicotine, to use Juul products,” CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement. “We certainly don’t want youth using the product. It is bad for public health, and it is bad for our mission.”
The move comes in the wake of a Stanford University School of Medicine study that showed that teens and young adults love Juul and “are failing to recognize the product’s addictive potential, despite using it more often than their peers who smoke conventional cigarettes.”