Campus convenience stores Hoya Snaxa and Vital Vittles will no longer sell select flavors of Juul pods, flavored e-liquid cartridges used with Juul e-cigarettes, following Juul Labs’ Nov. 13 announcement that it will reduce the pods available in stores.
Students of Georgetown, Inc., commonly known as The Corp, operates Snaxa and Vittles and began selling mango, fruit, creme and cucumber Juul pods last spring. These flavors will no longer be sold in The Corp’s storefronts, although tobacco, mint and menthol flavors will be.
“The Corp has always complied with all rules and regulations that apply to tobacco sales,” Alex Gong (SFS ’20), CEO and President of The Corp, wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We will abide by Juul’s decision to suspend flavored pod sales and foresee no major disruption to our operations.”
Juul Labs’ decision comes as the Georgetown University Student Association has looked to work with The Corp to end tobacco and nicotine sales on campus, according to GUSA Policy Chair for Student Health Casey Kozak (NHS ’20). The e-cigarettes have come under fire nationally since gaining popularity amongst teens and young adults, many of whom were not formerly smokers, according to The New York Times.
“It’s not secret that Juuls have become a popular commodity among students, and they are used in just about every part of campus,” Kozak wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Some students have even reported seeing fellow classmates using Juuls during class. I hope that as we move away from tobacco and nicotine products, we can begin to move towards incorporating lifestyle habits that help us feel healthy, happy, and in control.”
On the same day Juul Labs made its announcement, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to regulate flavored cigars in an ongoing effort to reduce youth tobacco use, according to The Washington Post.
The agency has targeted Juuls in the past, and this recent announcement expands the scope of action it plans to take against tobacco and nicotine. Cigarette use persists on Georgetown’s campus even as vapes and Juuls become more popular.
Kozak used a survey to help GUSA understand students’ attitudes toward tobacco and nicotine.
“Thanks to all of the students who filled out our survey, I have a collective picture of student opinions towards tobacco sales on campus,” she wrote. “I believe this information will be extremely helpful to all parties involved, and will help us improve as a campus.”
Kozak acknowledged that the shift away from nicotine products would affect business profits, but is more concerned with the products’ health effects.
“The largest concern around Juuls is the amount of nicotine within them, and how this can lead to addictive behaviors, especially in young users,” Kozak wrote. “My afterthought reaction was the way this decision will affect convenience stores everywhere, including our very own on campus, that often gain large profits from these sales. The more our country moves away from tobacco and nicotine usage, the more convenience stores and other sellers will have to adjust how they make a profit.”
The Corp has not disclosed how much profit it makes from tobacco and nicotine sales.
This post has been updated at 6:21 p.m. on Nov. 30 to reflect that The Corp will continue to sell tobacco, mint and menthol flavored Juul pods and that Juul Labs’s announcement to reduce flavored pod retail sales was on Nov. 13.