Menthol e-cigarette sales rise following 2020 FDA guidance

Tob Control. 2021 Nov;30(6):700-703. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2020-056053. Epub 2020 Sep 23.


Objective: To explore patterns in flavoured e-cigarette sales following Juul Labs' 2019 removal of mint-flavoured products and the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) 2020 e-cigarette flavour guidance which prohibits flavoured cartridge-based sales, but allows for the sale of tobacco-flavoured and menthol-flavoured cartridges, open-system and disposable e-cigarettes.

Methods: We examined Nielsen Retail Scanner data from September 2013 to March 2020. Inflation-adjusted sales dollars for e-liquid-containing products were classified into five flavour categories (fruit, menthol, mint, tobacco and other).

Results: Following the Juul Labs 2019 and FDA 2020 actions, total e-cigarette sales declined; however, menthol-flavoured e-cigarette sales dollars increased, while mint-flavoured e-cigarette sales dollars decreased in both instances. Juul Labs' removal of mint-flavoured products was followed by a 59.4% increase in the market share of menthol-flavoured e-cigarettes over 4 weeks. The FDA's 2020 guidance was followed by a 54.5% increase in the market share of menthol-flavoured e-cigarettes over 4 weeks and a 82.8% increase over 8 weeks.

Conclusions: Juul Labs' self-regulation and the current FDA flavour guidance were followed by a shift towards menthol-flavoured e-cigarettes. Industry self-regulation and current federal guidance appear insufficient in reversing the youth vaping epidemic. E-cigarettes must be fully regulated as a tobacco product including the removal of flavoured e-cigarettes, including menthol, from the market to reduce youth e-cigarette use.

Keywords: electronic nicotine delivery devices; public policy; surveillance and monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Commerce
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Humans
  • Menthol
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Tobacco Products*


  • Flavoring Agents
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Menthol