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Juul halts sales of dessert flavors

WASHINGTON — Juul Labs stopped selling fruit and dessert flavors Thursday, acknowledging the public’s “lack of trust” in the vaping industry.

The voluntary step is the company’s latest attempt to weather a growing political backlash that blames its flavored-nicotine products for hooking a generation of teenagers on electronic cigarettes.

Juul, the best-selling e-cigarette brand in the U.S., has been besieged by scrutiny, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juul users who claim they became addicted to nicotine through the company’s products. And the Trump administration has proposed banning nearly all vaping flavors.

Still, the company’s latest step is unlikely to satisfy its critics.

The flavors affected by Thursday’s announcement — mango, creme, fruit and cucumber — account for less than 10% of Juul’s sales. The flavors had only been sold through Juul’s website, after the company pulled them from stores last November.

Juul will continue selling its most popular flavors, mint and menthol, for now. A spokesman said the company is reviewing its products and has not made “any final decisions.”

Mint and menthol account for most of Juul’s retail sales, according to analysts, and are the most popular flavors among teens.

The San Francisco-based company will also continue to sell its tobacco-flavored vaping pods.

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