With vaping-related deaths on the rise and threats of federal regulation looming in the distance, Juul’s CEO, Kevin Burns, has stepped down. He will be replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, one of Juul’s major investors and the former chief growth officer of a tobacco company called Altria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is constantly updating its tally of lung injury and deaths tied to vaping. As of September 19, there have been 530 confirmed cases of severe lung injury and on September 24, a death in Kansas brought the nationwide vaping death toll to 9.
Rolling with the Punches
Upon Burns’ exit, Juul also announced a new marketing strategy. All TV, print, and digital ads will be suspended, and the company will halt some of its aggressive lobbying efforts. Even though the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes, the company has announced its support of, and plans to comply with, all future federal policies related to vaping products.
While banning e-cigarette flavors reduces vaping’s appeal to children and young adults, some states prefer an all-out ban of vaping instead. Still, Juul and new CEO Crosthwaite explain the company’s belief “in a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products like Juul.” Unfortunately for Juul and its new CEO, youth usage and public distrust has derailed the vaping industry. Crosthwaite hopes to get Juul’s vision back on track with the help of “regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders.”
Assistance from Big Tobacco
Even with a damaged public image, Juul is still worth over $37 billion, the market value the company achieved after Altria’s investment late last year. As the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, Altria rose Juul’s stock to nearly half of its own, demonstrating the tremendous growth potential for vaping. Still, Juul wishes to change the public’s perception and portray vaping as a safer alternative to smoking that exists to help addicts quit cigarettes.
Replacing Burns is the first step in the company’s rebranding. Hiring a traditional tobacco executive will help the company “market and manage government relationships with deadly products,” according to CEO dismissal and reputation crisis expert Tim Hubbard.
Seeing Through the Lies
Despite Juul’s newsworthy actions, many consumers remain distrustful of the company. Representatives from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids points out:
“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.”
Juul’s former CEO was the COO of Chobani yogurt. Now, the CEO is a representative for big tobacco.
While members of the public can decide for themselves whether or not to vape, the CDC still recommends avoiding e-cigarettes until their investigation is complete.
Additionally, Juul lawsuits continue to come forward, claiming addiction or illness as a result of using the slyly marketed products.
If you have been harmed by Juul or another e-cigarette company, don’t let big tobacco get away with your injury. Call our vaping illness attorneys at Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. today for a free consultation. We can be reached 24/7 at (954) 467-8800 or online.