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Sept. 17, 2019, 12:21 p.m. EDT

Juul’s sales halted in China without explanation, days after launch

Chinese websites JD.com and Alibaba’s Tmall removed Juul’s vaporizers, refills without explanation

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By Jennifer Maloney

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E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc.’s sales have been halted in China, days after the startup launched its products in the world’s biggest tobacco market.

Juul’s sleek vaporizers went on sale early last week online on both JD.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205122565/composite JD +6.49%  and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA +3.96%  Tmall, with refill pods in flavors such as mint, Virginia tobacco, mango and cream. But by the end of the week, they had been taken off both ecommerce sites. That left Juul at a loss as to why, according to people familiar with the matter.

The startup is pushing hard to expand around the world as it faces pressure in the U.S., where, citing a rise in teenage vaping, the Trump administration last week said it intends to pull most e-cigarettes off the market.

Don’t miss : Juul claimed its e-cigs are ‘totally safe,’ but the case against vaping keeps building.

Also read : As Trump officials plan to ‘clear flavored e-cigarettes from the market,’ Juul signals some support for the move.

Juul’s products were removed from Tmall Sep.13, and the brand and the platform are in close communication, according to a representative of Hangzhou Taoyatao Information Tech Co., which runs Juul’s Tmall store. Beijing Judian Tech Co, which runs Juul’s store on JD.com, confirmed that Juul’s products were taken off that site but declined to say why.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com .

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