While reports of 34 deaths from vaping-related injuries have sparked fears across the country, traditional cigarettes continue to kill more than 480,000 Americans every year—raising the question of whether there is really a vaping epidemic.
While the United States considers a ban on e-cigarettes over health concerns, the popular company Juul is facing even more backlash—and it is costing billions.
Months after investing $12.8 billion dollars for a 35 percent stake in its rival Juul, Altria Group has cut the value of its stake by $4.5 billion.
Citing unexpected changes in the market and the possibility of future government regulations that could include a federal ban, Altria wrote down “its investment in Juul Labs by more than a third and now holds it at a price that values the e-cigarette maker at about $24 billion.”
This comes as Juul confirms plans to lay off around 500 employees, or as much as 15 percent of its workforce, by the end of 2019. The company is also losing four of its executives, and one filed a lawsuit this week accusing Juul of rampant corruption.
A former senior vice president of global finance is claiming the popular e-cigarette company shipped at least one million contaminated pods to its customers earlier this year—but never issued a recall.
And he alleges that when asked about the problem, the CEO at the time said, “Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the blank* is going to notice the quality of our pods.”
Juul has responded by calling the lawsuit “baseless,” and former CEO Kevin Burns, who stepped down last month, released a statement saying, “I never said this, or anything remotely close to this, period. As CEO, I had the company make huge investments in product quality and the facts will show this claim is absolutely false and pure fiction.”
While the trend of using flavored e-cigarettes has taken off in the United States among millions of teenagers and young adults, reports of 34 deaths from vaping-related injuries sparked fears across the country.
But with traditional cigarettes killing more than 480,000 Americans every year, it raises the question of whether there is really a vaping epidemic.
Some scientists and researchers are working overtime to debunk the vaping scare, and they argue that the reaction to injuries from e-cigarettes is “emotional and irrational hysteria,” saying traditional cigarettes are still much more dangerous.
Meanwhile, more than 50 health and advocacy groups are calling for the Trump Administration to follow through with plans to force e-cigarette companies to take their flavored products off the market, which would effectively create a new black marketing for vaping in the US.