E-cigarette manufacturer Juul announced its CEO, Kevin Burns, left the company in an unexpected staff reorganization Wednesday morning. He is to be replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, an official of Altria Group, a tobacco giant that owns a 35% stake in Juul.
Crosthwaite supervised Altria’s business expansion into creating smoke alternatives, including the vaping device IQQS from Phillip Morris, and it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April.
On Wednesday, Juul announced that the company is ending all lobbying efforts against the Trump administration’s proposed ban on the flavoured e-cigarettes and suspending all broadcast, print, and digital advertising in the United States.
Crosthwaite said in a statement that the company’s mission was at risk because of a sudden rise in youth vaping and eroding public trust in the 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,” he said.
Juul had announced its Make the Switch campaign at the beginning of this year, showing that their products help adults making the transition from regular cigarettes. Now the campaign is being overshadowed by the allegations that Juul markets its products to teens, who are now taking up vaping at an alarming rate.
Both Congress and Trump Administrations have intensified their scrutiny on the company, in response to the shocking rise of vaping-related diseases.
Nine deaths due to lung diseases caused by vaping have been confirmed since August, and 530 cases of lung diseases are under Centres for Disease Control and Prevention investigation.
Public have been warned against using nicotine and vaping products, as well as psychoactive chemicals in marijuana and THC by officials on both state and federal levels. Many patients, reported of using nicotine and THC vaping devices, have shown similar symptoms including shortness of breath, chest-pain and nausea.