by Benny Sakthivel
The Juul CEO, Kevin Burns, has stepped down from his position as a result of an increasing number of vaping-related deaths and the consequential threat of federal charges. Juul announced that Kevin Burns will be replaced with former Chief Growth Officer K.C. Crosthwaite of Altria, the tobacco company that produces Marlboro cigarettes.
Altria, a major investor in Juul, released in a statement that it was a “decision by Juul” for Burns to go.
According to the center of disease control, there have been nine deaths and five hundred thirty cases of lung illnesses related to vaping. To help stop the sale of these products to teens, Juul has decided to suspend ads from digital resources. Chief Executive Officer Crosthwaite made the statement that, “I have long believed in a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products like Juul…Unfortunately, today that future is at risk due to unacceptable levels of youth usage and eroding public confidence in our industry. Against that backdrop, we must strive to work with regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders, and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate.”
In addition to federal action against Juul, some states are considering a ban on all e-cigarettes in the hope of reducing or even putting an end to the vaping epidemic. In December, Juul had a value of $37 billion, which was when Altria invested half their market value in a 35% stake in the e-cigarette company. From the beginning of 2018 up until October that year, Juul was successful in tripling its’ profits. But in November, sales dropped when Juul announced that they would stop shipping non tobacco based products and non menthol based flavors in an attempt to put down underage vaping.
In March of 2019, Juul’s sales were back up around its’ height until July, which was when reports of vaping-related health problems emerged. Subsequently, Juul’s sales took another dive. “The youth e-cigarette epidemic has gone from bad to worse, and 5 million kids now use e-cigarettes,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Juul’s announcement today is aimed at repairing its image and protecting its profits, not at solving this crisis. This announcement strips away any doubt about Juul. It is Big Tobacco.”