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E-cigarette Maker Juul Stops Advertising In US, CEO Steps Down

kevinburns sept26 lt

E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., which is under pressure amid intensifying vaping health crisis in the United States, announced its decision to stop product-related advertising in the U.S.

In addition, the company named K.C. Crosthwaite as its new chief executive as the current CEO Kevin Burns decided to step down.

Crosthwaite was Chief Growth Officer at Altria Group Inc., which recently made a $13 billion investment in vaping startup Juul.

According to Crosthwaite, Juul's future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products is at risk due to unacceptable levels of youth usage and eroding public confidence.

Juul's latest decision comes as the provider of vaping products is facing criminal investigation by Federal prosecutors for its marketing tactics towards teens and youth. The state and federal officials are taking strong stand against e-cigarettes and vaping as more deaths are being reported related to a mysterious vaping-related illness.

In a statement, co-founders James Monsees, Adam Bowen and Kevin Burns noted that effective immediately, Juul is suspending all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S. The company is also refraining from lobbying the Administration on its draft guidance.

Juul said it implemented actions to combat underage use of vapor products, strongly advocated for Tobacco 21 or T21 laws, and stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavored JUULpods to all of its traditional retail store partners.

The company further said it has enhanced its online age verification, discontinued its U.S.-based Facebook and Instagram accounts, and is also planning to remove inappropriate social media content generated by others on those platforms.

Juul has intensified efforts to combat illegal and potentially dangerous counterfeit and compatible products.

In early September, Juul had received a warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration for marketing unauthorized tobacco products to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school. The company also faces subpoena for not providing documents related to its products and marketing practices.

Following the severe vaping health crisis, media companies including CBS, Viacom, CNN and its parent WarnerMedia decided recently to stop running ads for e-cigarettes, while Walmart stopped the sale of such products.

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