Juul plans to remove the pod of non-cigarettes from all stores, including convenience stores and stores, according to the new plan announced today.
This is exactly 60 days after the FDA called for a more comprehensive plan to address the increasingly immature use of these products from large e-cig makers.
Juul's plan is somewhat more aggressive than the plan reported by the FDA. It requires that all flavored products that do not smoke are removed from convenience stores and sold at specialty stores such as vape shops.
Juul currently sells eight flavors of pods. Pods that do not fit into traditional cigarette flavors such as Virginia tobacco, classical tobacco, peppermint, and menthol lose instantly in all stores. In other words, the only place to buy cream, fruit, cucumber, mango (Juul's most popular spice) is the Juul website.
The company verifies that the customer is 21 years of age or older by cross-referencing information such as DOB and the last four digits of the Social Security number with publicly available data or by requiring users to upload a driver's license scan.
After the FDA assessed the situation, Juul would prompt sales in the store on condition that Juul's new 21+ restricted distribution policy would be followed. This policy includes investments in technology that restricts fragrant Juul pods within the inventory system. Once restricted, the clerk must scan the ID to make sure the buyer is over 21 years old and record the purchase in the system to track the bulk purchase.
But now the non-tobacco-flavored Juul pod is only available on the Juul website.
According to Juul's plan, more than 90,000 retail stores with tobacco-flavored Juul pods and devices will soon be subject to scrutiny. The company is increasing its secret buyer program from 500 visits / month to about 2,000 per month and is charging financial consequences for retailers who have been allowed to sell or bulk sell FDA to minors.
However, offline purchases are only part of the problem of underage use. Minors have the ability to purchase Juul devices and pods from third-party e-commerce sites such as eBay, Alibaba and Amazon, as well as more than 23,000 Juul products or counterfeit products already shrunk by Juan and regulators. Juul continues to work with this retailer to withdraw her listing.
Finally, Juul Labs is rethinking its social media policy. The company plans to completely eliminate the Instagram and Facebook channels and restrict the Twitter channel to non-promotional information such as news and customer service updates. Juul's YouTube channel is retained, but only videos from previous real smokers are rated. Both YouTube and Twitter must be at least 21 years old before they can join the channel.
Critics point out that Juul 's 2015 campaign sees models between the ages of 24 and 37 as one of the factors that have contributed to Juul' s increased use of minors. This criticism led Juul to rethink how to deal with social media in general.
Last year, we turned to social media to use only models older than 35, and in June, Juul went one step further, allowing only older smokers over the age of 28 to appear on social media channels.
One of the most exciting parts of this ongoing debate is the suspension of FDA's new products. Essentially, devices that are not on the market as of August 2016 must undergo full regulatory approval for FDA approval. However, because Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems is a new product category, the fine print of the regulatory process for these devices is still being ironed.
Despite the moratorium, Juul Labs continues to work on the next generation Juul, which includes Bluetooth connectivity. The company plans to launch new products in markets outside the United States, but plans to work with the FDA to find a regulatory pathway to sell devices in the United States.
Why is this problem important? Juul with Bluetooth capability can be a technical barrier to immature product use. When Juul is paired with a smartphone, schools and other children can gather together to defend other areas. You can also force age verification through your phone to work only if Juul has enabled your device via iPhone with the correct TouchID profile. Of course, Juul found a way to make that connection and tamper with the protection.
Juul co-founder and COO talked about the next generation of Disrupt SF devices this year and outlined how they can help you get rid of nicotine. However, there is clearly a potential for technology to address the problem of underage use. Unfortunately, immediate resolution is a problem, and regulatory approvals for new devices are immediate.