Juul employees angered over Altria ‘deal with the devil’
News that the nation’s most profitable vape manufacturer Juul labs is considering Big Tobacco’s Altria as a significant minor investor is not sitting well with many of the e-cig company’s employees. Gizmodo is reporting to have screenshots of conversations taking place in a Slack group where some employees questioned the actual validity of the original report, posturing that it might be fake news. One even called the proposed partnership a “deal with the devil.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported the rumored deal on November 28. While Juul holds over 70 percent of the market share in the United States, the Marlboro Maker’s attempted collaboration with Juul is causing many insiders to wonder if the FDA might have been right about vaping all along.
The FDA has spent over a year blasting the vaping industry – Juul most specifically - with allegations of improper marketing practices intentionally designed to attract underage teens into tan obsequious world of nicotine addiction. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is particularly angered by the names and cartoonish packaging of many of the flavored e-liquids. His rage grew to such an extreme point of contention last month that he abruptly abolished the sales of all favored vape products via brick-and-mortar retailers other than age-restricted vape and tobacco stores.
Altria discussions are ‘antithetical’ to Juul’s mission
Meanwhile, vaping advocates have been aggressively fighting back against Gottlieb’s anti-vaping mudslinging. Their counter-argument is essentially, “Adult vapers like flavored e-liquids, too. And thanks to vaping, national smoking rates are at an historic low.” With Juul and Altria conspiring to partner-up, the pro-vaping argument appears much less valid at a minimum and purely hypocritical at best.
Even though the seemingly unexpected news of the potential Juul-Altria collaboration essentially took the vaping world n and Juul employees by storm, Axios is further reporting that the two companies have been in talks since early 2018.
“Axios has learned that Altria first approached Juul near the beginning of 2018, offering to invest in the company or even buy it outright for around $5 billion. Juul rebuffed the initial interest, but Altria remained persistent, regularly coming back with higher price points.”
Axios also substantiates the Gizmodo report regarding lack of employee enthusiasm over the proposed deal. Some angered Juul workers allegedly believe that partnering with Altria is “antithetical to Juul's mission of helping smokers quit combustible cigarettes.” The possible $30 billion deal is not yet finalized or even confirmed, but discussions between Juul and Altria are said to remain fluid.
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