SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean convenience store chain GS25 decided to halt all sales of flavored liquid e-cigarettes on Thursday, putting JUUL Labs and other e-cigarette manufacturers at risk.
It came as a surprise to the e-cigarette industry as the convenience store franchise made the decision unilaterally, without any prior discussions with liquid e-cigarette sellers including JUUL Labs Korea.
GS25, accounting for 13,000 stores among the 42,000 convenience stores across the country, will stop selling 3 out of 4 flavored nicotine pods sold by JUUL Labs Korea, placing the e-cigarette manufacturer at a risk of major losses.
For convenience stores, there seems to be no risk posed against GS25 for making such a decision.
Once the causal link between liquid e-cigarettes and vaping-related respiratory illness is confirmed by the ongoing government investigation, GS25 will be lauded as a responsible company acting first to protect the health of its customers.
Even if the government finds otherwise, all GS25 has to do is to restart selling the e-cigarettes, which poses no risk to the convenience store chain.
GS25’s decision is leading other convenience store chains, including CU, 7-Eleven, and Emart 24 to consider halting sales of these products.
JUUL Labs Korea plans to monitor the situation while engaging in a series of discussions with GS25 and other convenience store chains. It has yet to be determined, however, if the discussion will convince GS25 to revoke its decision.
M. H. Lee (email@example.com)