Juul Labs will stop selling most of its flavoured vaping pods in Canada, CBC News has confirmed.
The company will not pull existing supplies of the mango, vanilla, fruit and cucumber varieties from store shelves, but it will stop re-supplying outlets with those products once the existing stock has sold out.
The company, a leader in the electronic cigarette market, will halt production of those pods as of Wednesday. Tobacco and mint flavoured varieties will still be sold in Canada, a spokesperson confirmed.
In a letter sent to retailers and distributors, Michael Nederhoff, the general manager of Juul Labs in Canada, said it’s pulling these flavours now but could later reintroduce them to the Canadian market “under the guidance and regulation of Health Canada.”
Health Canada is considering enacting stricter regulations on the vaping industry in response to claims that the rules around their products — popular with young people — do not go far enough to protect public health.
The federal Liberal government effectively legalized vaping in 2018 with the passage of S-5. The legislation allowed for some forms of advertising and store display, which health critics claim has glamorized the smoking alternative.
In his letter, Nederhoff said the company is interested in “resetting the vaping category, [and] earning the trust of society.”
The Logic first reported on Nederhoff’s letter on the pod pullback.
As of July 2019, Juul had a 78 per cent share of Canada’s vape market, with its products available at more than 13,000 vape shops and convenience stores across the country. The World Health Organization has valued the smokeless tobacco and vaping market in Canada at roughly $1 billion a year in sales.
Health Canada has suggested new regulations, yet to be enacted, that could treat vaping products much like combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars.
Proposed regulations include a ban on ads anywhere they can be seen or heard by youth, which includes public spaces, convenience stores and online.
The regulations also would ban in-store displays of vaping products, except in specialty stores that restrict entry to people 18 years or older.
Some brands already include health warnings on their products, but the proposed regulations would make those mandatory for all.
Juul is going further than Health Canada on the flavour pod front, however. Ottawa has said it is not yet ready to ban flavoured vaping products outright.
Many adult vaping users maintain that the flavoured products have helped them transition from cigarettes to e-cigarette alternatives.
“We recently proposed new rules to prohibit the promotion of vaping products anywhere they can be seen or heard by youth, and are in the process of examining additional flavour restrictions using the best available evidence because we share the concerns that many Canadians — particularly parents — have about vaping,” Thierry Bélair, a spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu, said in an emailed statement.