Juul Big T Tie-up

Posted 29th November 2018 by Mawsley
Juul’s response to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) actions has been identical to the tobacco industry, lending credence to claims that vaping is a gateway to smoking and that flavours are targeting children. It's capitulation drew strong rebuke from harm reduction advocates. Now Juul Labs is strongly linked with a move by Altria to take “a significant minority stake” in it.

Juul Labs began as an idea by James Monsees and Adam Bowen in 2007, when working for a company linked to Japan Tobacco International. It became an independent company in 2017 and had a meteoric rise. However, as time progressed, its actions failed to display any indication that it supported the same harm reduction outlook shared by the rest of the independent vape sector.

Recently, Juul was slammed for its pitiful response to the FDA. The company agreed with Scott Gottlieb that “Youth usage is a serious problem,” despite the evidence showing it isn’t the case. Then, in a recent video, its Chief Executive Officer is seen saying: “We launched flavours like Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber as effective tools to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes, and we do not sell flavours like Gummy Bear or Cotton Candy, which are clearly targeted to kids.”

Public Health England's Martin Cockrell said: “Our report found no evidence so far to support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people. UK surveys show that young people are experimenting with e-cigarettes, but regular use is rare and confined almost entirely to those who already smoke. Meanwhile, smoking rates among young people in the UK continue to decline."

Altria announced that it was removing MarkTen products from sale and was only going to supply menthol and tobacco flavours in its other vape products. Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Altria “is in talks to take a significant minority stake” in Juul Labs.

The report states: “A tie-up between the two companies could give Juul experience that Altria has gained through decades of regulation and litigation while giving Altria a jolt in revenue. However, a deal would mark a significant shift for Juul, which has repeatedly distanced itself from Big Tobacco companies like Altria.”

Neither Juul or Altria were prepared to comment on the rumoured tie-up.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker