The Juul-Altria merger alarms American health authorities

Juul quickly made its mark amongst young people, but it’s also getting the attention of the health authorities. The FDA, which has called the rise in vaping amongst young people an “epidemic,” is keeping a close eye on Juul. It is worth noting that in the USA, approximately 3.6 million young people use Juul, which has caused concern that young vapers may one day turn towards cigarettes.

Launched in 2015, Juul is already worth approximately 10 billion Euros. It saw a 75% rise in profits just last year. In the face of FDA accusations, Juul Labs is defending itself by promising to participate in helping smokers wean themselves off of tobacco. However, Juul is at the heart of a new controversy thanks to its partnership with Altria, Marlboro’s distributor.

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Photo: Vaping360

A dubious partnership

Altria has just invested $12.8 billion in Juul, causing further questions about the connection between vaping and smoking. Anti-smoking lobbyists are worried that Altria has hidden motives, and they see the move as a way for Altria to control Juul’s expansion. There is no logical reason why Altria would want to help the vaping industry, which is directly at odds with traditional cigarette sales.

There is also skepticism at Juul Labs, and many of its employees are wary of the recent merger. Nonetheless, Altria has made certain promises, including total independence for Juul Labs … but the merger seems to be a marketing strategy for Juul, whose devices will now be sold in tobacconists where Marlboro is also sold. Juul may also benefit from advertisements on Altria-owned cigarette packaging.

The potential benefits may be short-lived if the FDA decides to enforce new regulations. Despite Juul’s efforts to prevent young people from using its products, the FDA is not convinced that Juul is acting in good faith. The American health authorities also want to ban flavored e-liquids that attract young people, and also want to limit online e-cigarette sales. According to the FDA, all of this is intended to avoid giving rise to a black market for vaping devices amongst young people.