A threat to ban flavored e-cigs fizzled after the FDA decided to allow stores to continue selling vape juice, but only from closed-off areas to keep underage vapeheads from getting their fix.
But Big Cig didn’t get off so easy. The FDA moved to ban flavored cigars and, more notably, menthol cigarettes — reportedly the harshest stance the FDA has taken with the cancer companies in a decade.
And to that we say: Juul dodged a nuclear bomb.
Why juust menthol cigarettes?
Menthol’s minty, cooling effect has burned in cigarettes since the 1920s. According to health officials, the additive curbs throat irritation caused by cigarette smoke, making menthols appealing to young people.
According to WSJ, flavored tobacco products are marketed specifically toward black smokers, 81% of whom opted for that minty buzz in 2017 (compared to 46% of Hispanics and 29% of whites).
Smoking isn’t for quitters
In 2013, the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke out against the measure the last time the FDA attempted the ban, saying the prohibition of menthol would only increase racial profiling.
The tobacco industry agrees menthols shouldn’t be banned, but for a less altruistic reason than Sharpton: Menthol cigarettes account for almost 35% of US cigarette sales.
In other words, Phillip Morris doesn’t give a sh*t about anyone but his cryogenically frozen self (he’s the Walt Disney of bangin’ heats and everyone knows it).
What does this mean for Juul?
Juul, who dominates the e-cig market and became a decacorn 4x faster than Facebook, seems to have dodged a bullet in this round.
Let’s face it, people who like flavored tobacco and menthol are probably just going to go buy a Juul, and there’s no way every mom and pop bodega has the cash to build some whippersnapper-proof e-cig chamber.
That said, the threatened ban shook #vapenation to its core. And TechCrunch thinks this could do more harm than good to companies like Juul who live and die by marketing on social platforms.