WASHINGTON — Facing mounting government pressure and a public backlash over an epidemic of teenage vaping, Juul Labs announced on Tuesday that it would suspend sales of most of its flavored e-cigarette pods in retail stores and would discontinue its social media promotions.
The decision by the San Francisco-based company, which has more than 70 percent of the e-cigarette market share in the United States, is the most significant sign of retrenchment by an industry that set out to offer devices to help smokers quit but now shoulders blame for a new public health problem: nicotine addiction among nonsmoking teens.
Juul’s announcement effectively undercut the Food and Drug Administration’s plan to unveil a series of measures aimed at curbing teenage vaping. The agency is expected later this week to announce a ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations and strengthen the requirements for age verification of online sales of e-cigarettes.
To prevent some users from reverting to menthol cigarettes, Juul said it would keep mint, tobacco and menthol flavors for its devices in retail stores.