“Once I use an e-cigarette, I need an expertise just like smoking cigarettes, however Juul didn’t have it,” he stated. “I didn’t get the identical kick.” (IQOS is distributed within the U.S. by Altria by an settlement with Philip Morris Worldwide.)

Juul’s troubles multiplied in October after South Korean well being officers, prompted by the outbreak of lung illnesses within the U.S., issued a stark warning about e-liquids, saying they posed the danger of “severe lung harm and even demise.”

A month later, the South Korean Military banned e-liquids on all army installations. In December, South Korean well being authorities introduced the outcomes of testing on a lot of vaping merchandise, together with the apple orchard taste previously made by Juul, and stated that in some merchandise they’d detected hint quantities of vitamin E acetate, the adulterant U.S. well being authorities have linked to many of the lung damage circumstances.

Juul and different e-cigarette firms say they don’t use vitamin E acetate of their merchandise and the American well being officers have solely discovered it in hashish vaping merchandise. Nonetheless, South Korea’s greatest comfort retailer chains, the first stores for Juul, eliminated two or three of the corporate’s 5 flavors from cabinets. Many smaller shops adopted go well with.

In a single day, the well being warnings turned many South Koreans towards vaping.

Kim Ji-Ah, 28, an workplace employee in Seoul who has been utilizing e-cigarettes for greater than a yr, stated she felt like a pariah.

“Individuals whisper behind my again once I vape,” she stated.

Juul wouldn’t launch gross sales figures, however gross sales of e-cigarette liquids general in South Korea dropped by 90 p.c within the fourth quarter of final yr, to 1 million pods from 9.eight million from the earlier quarter.

The corporate’s prospects are prone to worsen. Parliament is contemplating a invoice that will section out the e-liquid flavors which can be stated to draw younger folks, and business executives are bracing themselves for additional restrictions.

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