Juul Labs decided to stop selling most of its flavored nicotine pods at brick-and-mortar retail stores, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. Its flavored liquid pods, including cucumber and mango, will instead be sold on its website, which has age-verification tools that bar purchases by people under 21 years old, the people said.
Here’s how online age verification works, according to Juul’s website:
To complete an order at JUUL.com, users are asked to provide their name, date of birth, permanent address, and the last four digits of their social security number. This information is verified by a third-party and cross-referenced with publicly-available records to confirm the person is at least 21 years of age. If a user’s public records fail to match or they do not wish to provide their social security number, they must upload a valid government-issued I.D. for review by a member of the company’s compliance team.
The company plans to continue selling menthol- and tobacco-flavored products in stores, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Juul Labs declined to comment to BuzzFeed News.
Juul Labs has quickly dominated the e-cigarette industry since it spun off from Pax Labs in 2017. It now has about three-fourths of the market.
The company has grown quickly in part due to its advertising, which has drawn scrutiny by anti-tobacco groups, law enforcement, and the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA announced in July that it will consider banning all or some flavored pods if the company does not develop a plan to curb the use of e-cigarettes by teens and children.
Officials plan to tighten regulations on e-cigarettes. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to announce a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in stores as soon as next week, according to the Washington Post.
The agency plans to also impose such rules as age-verification requirements for online sales, senior agency officials told the Washington Post. Gottlieb is also expected to propose banning menthol in regular cigarettes, according to the report.