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Juul halts sales of fruit, dessert flavors for e-cigarettes

WASHINGTON | Juul Labs will stop selling fruit and dessert flavors for its electronic cigarettes.

The voluntary step announced Thursday is the company’s latest concession as it tries to weather a political backlash blaming its flavored-nicotine products for hooking a generation of teenagers.

The move is unlikely to satisfy the company’s critics. Juul will continue selling its most popular flavors: mint and menthol. Those products account for more than 60% of Juul’s retail sales, according to analysts. They are also the most popular flavors among teens.

The flavored pods affected by the announcement are mango, crème, fruit and cucumber.

Those flavors account for about 10% of the company’s sales and were only available on its website. Juul pulled the flavors out of stores last November.

J&J agrees to $117 million settlement over pelvic mesh devices

TRENTON, N.J. | Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $117 million multistate settlement over allegations it deceptively marketed its pelvic mesh products, which support women’s sagging pelvic organs.

Ohio’s attorney general said an investigation found J&J, the world’s biggest health products maker, violated state consumer protection laws by not fully disclosing the devices’ risks.

Numerous women who had the once-popular, hammock-like devices implanted claim they caused severe pain, bleeding and infections.

The settlement, which covers 41 states and the District of Columbia, requires the company to fully disclose risks and stop making inaccurate safety claims.

Average 30-year mortgage rate rises to 3.69%

WASHINGTON | U.S. long-term mortgage rates rose this week after signs of a trade truce between the U.S. and China last week pushed up the interest rate on 10-year Treasurys.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.69% from 3.57% the previous week. That’s down from 3.9% at the same time last year and by historic standards is very low.

Lower rates have helped reinvigorate the housing market, which stumbled last year. Sales of existing homes reached a 17-month high in August, and new home sales jumped 7% that month.

Single-family home construction also has ticked up.

The average rate on a 15-year mortgage moved up to 3.15% from 3.05% a week ago.

— From AP reports