E-Cigarette Maker Juul Will Offer Lower-Strength Nicotine Pods

(Bloomberg) -- Juul Labs Inc., the maker of the popular e-cigarette brand that has recently come under fire from health officials over its popularity with young adults, plans to introduce a line of lower-nicotine pods.

The company will begin to sell pods with a 3-percent nicotine concentration in its mint and Virginia tobacco flavors later this year, according to a statement Thursday. It currently offers eight flavors -- mango is a top seller -- containing a 5-percent nicotine level, which is about as much nicotine as a pack of traditional cigarettes.

“We hope the availability of different nicotine strengths will continue to allow adult smokers the ability to explore what is best for them,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burns said in the statement.

With the fast-growing company owning about two-thirds of the U.S. e-cigarette market, San Francisco-based Juul says its mission is to help adult smokers wean off cigarettes or quit altogether. But its device’s sleek design -- it’s reminiscent of a flash drive -- and its pods’ creative flavors have also attracted teenagers and young adults to start using them, drawing the attention of health officials and the public.

The new lower-nicotine pods will be available in limited quantity in August and sold widely in October, the company said. The company didn’t immediately reply to a request for further comment.

Juul recently raised $650 million out of a funding round expected to reach $1.2 billion, according to a U.S. securities filing on Tuesday. The deal is set to value the company at about $15 billion.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.