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JUUL boss on one year after the menthol ban

April 26, 2021


Almost one year after menthol cigarettes disappeared, one industry leader surveys the impact of the ban on UK sales 

When the menthol ban arrived on 20 May last year, it was hoped (both by the industry and many public health figures) that menthol-flavoured vape products could help encourage smokers to make the transition away from tobacco.

With the year anniversary of the ban falling next month, evidence of the ban’s effect on the market is now becoming clear.

“According to IRI data, both e-cigarette and menthol flavoured e-cigarette sales have increased over the past year, so it would seem that more smokers have transitioned away from both cigarettes and menthol cigarettes over the past year,” says John Patterson, sales director Juul Labs.

In April last year, Juul Labs launched Menthol JUULPods to further boost its offer to menthol smokers.

Patterson says that this trend fits within the overall mission for his company: “Juul Labs and the vaping category exist to help end the era of combustible cigarettes. As combustible cigarettes remain the leading cause of preventable death both in the UK and globally, this goal is critical, and we believe vaping products can play a pivotal role in achieving that goal.”

Of course, the pandemic had a major effect on both the vape and tobacco markets thanks to the closure of vape shops, rising rates of stress giving tobacco sales in some areas a temporary boost. Patterson thinks the next year will see a substantial shift towards vape as many smokers look to quit for good:

“A recent survey by PHE suggests that 43 percent of smokers are looking to kick the habit in 2021 and, with e-cigarettes a popular alternative for many adult smokers, the outlook for the category is positive. Additionally, ASH reports that there are still around a third of adult smokers (32.4 percent) who have not tried alternatives to combustible cigarettes.”

So, what advice does he have for stores as the anniversary approaches?

“The main priority for retailers is to continue to keep high visibility of the category, to inform adult smokers of the alternatives available and provide them with options to transition away from cigarettes. Stocking a wide range of products across all alternatives sectors can help in offering this choice of options.”

Take a look at the data below to see how flavours are driving sales in the UK market this year:

How flavours are performing in UK stores

Open Closed Total
Tobacco 14.50% 16.93% 15.91%
Menthol 32.82% 14.19% 22.05%
Mint 5.33% 29.80% 19.48%
Fruit and others 47.35% 39.08% 42.56%

(IRI vol. sales 12 weeks to 14/02/21)