Yielding to intense pressure from politicians and the medical community, Juul Labs Inc. on Thursday announced a pull-out of all its fruit flavored vape pods from stores in the country.

The makers of Juul, America's top selling e-cigarette, said it's suspending the sale of all fruity flavored vape pods until these contentious products are fully reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A Juul e-cigarette packages nicotine salts from leaf tobacco into one-time use cartridges to which fruity flavors are added to enhance their appeal among teen users.

Juul's announcement means all mango, creme, fruit, and cucumber-flavored vape pods will no longer be sold unless formally approved by the FDA.

“We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers,” said Juul CEO K.C. Crosthwaite in a statement.

Juul's long-anticipated move follows unrelenting and intense pressure from the government and advocacy groups to strengthen government regulation of e-cigarettes. Studies consistently show skyrocketing numbers of young people vaping.

Adding to this pressure is the ongoing spate of deaths and injuries resulting from a disease that only this Wednesday was given the name EVALI, an acronym for “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury," by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This vaping-related lung disease -- whose cause or causes haven't been accurately pinpointed -- has killed at least 33 and sickened 1,479 people in the U.S. and U.S. territories as of Thursday, said CDC. There were 26 deaths and some 1,300 injured in the previous CDC report last week.

This grisly toll did get “considerably” worse as predicted earlier by CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat in a testimony before the House Appropriations subcommittee.

“This is extremely complicated and difficult. It’s fatal or potentially fatal with half of the cases requiring intensive care,” she said.

In late August, former Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns described the vaping-related lung disease outbreak as "worrisome."

"Worrisome for the category," said Burns at the time. "Worrisome for us if we contributed to it."

A store in Los Angeles sells e-cigarettes, which are under scrutiny amid a mysterious epidemic of lung conditions linked to vaping
A store in Los Angeles sells e-cigarettes, which are under scrutiny amid a mysterious epidemic of lung conditions linked to vaping AFP / Robyn Beck
Vaping and Illness
Vaping can cause illness, according to scientists. Thorn Yang - Pexels

Burns said CDC is in "close contact" with Juul as it investigates the spread of this illness.

"We'd like to get all the specifics that we can…" he said. "We want to make sure we have access to the information, so if there's any issue that was driven, associated with us that we can get to the root cause and understand that."

Burns, who joined Juul in December 2017, resigned Sept. 25 amid the growing EVALI crisis. Following Burns’ resignation, Crosthwaite announced a suspension of all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S. It also vowed not lobby against the Trump administration plan to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market and will comply with the final policy.