The highest-profile e-cigarette maker, Juul, announced a major shake-up Wednesday in response to growing global outrage and regulatory scrutiny over its products. The San Francisco–based company said it will accept, and not lobby against, President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on most flavored vaping products that critics said were aimed at teens. In another major step back for the company, Juul said it had suspended all broadcast, print, and digital advertising of its products in the U.S. The seismic moves were coupled with the company’s announcement that CEO Kevin Burns will step down.
The news comes as U.S. health officials investigate hundreds of cases of lung illness linked to vaping that have resulted in eight deaths. Those health concerns compounded by growing data showing a surge in vaping among young people prompted the Trump administration to propose a ban that would require e-cigarette products to be taken off the market until they received FDA approval, a process that could take years. Flavored e-cigarettes account for 80 percent of of Juul’s sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Juul is the subject of several investigations, including a criminal probe by prosecutors in California and investigations by the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission into its marketing and business practices,” the Journal reports. “Juul says that it hasn’t targeted teens, that it has taken steps to combat underage purchases and that its products are intended for adult cigarette smokers who want to switch.”