A tobacco executive is about to be in charge of Juul.
The e-cigarette company announced Wednesday CEO Kevin Burns is stepping down, amid growing concerns about deaths links to vaping and reports of a criminal investigation into the company, CNN reports.
Replacing Burns is K.C. Crosthwaite, chief growth officer for Altria, the tobacco company that bought a 35 percent stake in Juul last year, The New York Times reports. Juul is also yanking its broadcast, print, and digital advertising in the U.S., Politico reports.
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This comes as the ninth vaping-related death nationwide was reported, and the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed 530 probable cases of lung injuries linked to e-cigarette use. Juul has been facing numerous investigations targeting its marketing practices allegedly aimed at teenagers, who reports have shown are using vape products in huge numbers, and California prosecutors are reportedly now conducting a criminal probe.
Juul has said its products are only intended for adults, specifically those trying to kick their addiction to cigarettes. For that reason, a tobacco company purchasing a stake in Juul last year certainly raised some eyebrows, Vox notes. On Wednesday, Crosthwaite said, "I have long believed in a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products like Juul."
President Trump announced earlier this month his administration intends to ban most flavored vaping products. Juul, which previously pulled mango and fruit flavored vape products, said Wednesday it won't lobby against this proposed ban, The Washington Post reports. Tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes would remain on the market.
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