In its latest bid to keep the kids from vaping, Juul announced today that retailers will soon have to scan IDs for anyone trying to purchase a Juul e-cigarette.
The ID scans are part of Juul’s Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) program. When a retailer scans a Juul product on its point-of-sale (POS) system, they’ll then be prompted to scan the customer’s ID. Supposedly, the Juul products will remain locked until the retailer can electronically scan a valid, government-issued ID card. Under the system, minors would then be theoretically turned away. (Unfortunately, wily teens often find a way.)
So far, Juul says over 50 retail chains representing more than 40,000 individual outlets have committed to being RACS-compliant by May 2021, with 15,000 stores expected to install the system by the end of 2019. After May 2021, Juul says it will stop distributing products to non-RACS stores. To help with the cost, Juul is also offering over $100 million in incentives and financial support to retailers who make the effort to be RACS-compliant by the May 2021 date.
In addition to blocking underage sales, Juul says the new system will bar customers from buying more than four Juul devices at a time—presumably to curb legal-age users from buying for their underage friends.
Juul also announced it plans to nationally roll out its Track & Trace program in the U.S. The program is designed to trace where confiscated Juuls have been sold by entering in the device’s serial number into an online portal. Juul says the program has been successful during a trial run in the Houston area, and says that currently about 50 percent of all Juul devices in the U.S. are fully traceable.
Juul’s attempts to curb teen vaping follow some intense scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as congressional hearings on whether Juul actively marketed to kids. So far its efforts have ranged from nixing flavored pods and introducing secret shopper programs to bust errant retailers, to releasing a Bluetooth-enabled vape that collects a staggering amount of user data. All of this is ostensibly to deflect criticisms Juul played a major role in hooking teen users, given recent reports e-cigarettes may have contributed to serious health problems, including severe lung damage, seizures and other neurological issues.