Juul CEO Steps Down, Replaced By Former Big Tobacco Executive


In a shocking development, the future of Juul, and vaping at large, is more uncertain than ever.

Vaping has been a controversial topic for almost as long as it’s been around. So while dealing with misinformation is nothing new for vapers, it’s hard to miss things ramping up over the last year.

After the Trump administration announced recently they planned on eventually banning all vaping flavors except tobacco, it has sent the entire industry into a frenzy. The news got even more shocking recently, as just yesterday the CEO of Juul Labs announced he would be stepping down, to be replaced with a former Altria executive.

This news has sent shockwaves through the industry, as many fear this signals the beginning of the end for the world’s most successful vaping brand. Others are more focused on the implications of a former Big Tobacco executive taking over for a business started less than ten years ago by a small group of investors.

Only time will tell exactly what this change will mean for the vaping industry at large. But it’s getting much more difficult not to feel as if significant changes are on the horizon for vapers across America.

Changing Of The Guard

According to reports, in an all-hands meeting yesterday morning, Juul Labs CEO, Kevin Burns stepped down. They also announced they wouldn’t be fighting the proposed vaping flavor ban by the Trump administration.

The new CEO of Juul Labs will be former Altria Executive K.C. Crosthwaite. Altria currently owns a 35% stake in Juul Labs, a share they purchased less than a year ago. The move received plenty of criticism at the time for bringing a Big Tobacco company into the fold.

However, while many critics are concerned about the reality of this leadership change, the new CEO tried to mitigate these fears, saying his presence doesn’t signal Altria would be taking over things. The news reportedly also ended talks between Altria and Philip Morris, who had been discussing a merger over recent months.

According to people familiar with the situation, PMI’s board was concerned with the regulatory challenges, and a leadership change at Juul was proposed. Ultimately, the two sides still decided to end talks, as the board could not come to a unanimous decision. Meanwhile, Altria remains confident Juul will be a solid investment in the long run.

The Research On Vaping

Evidence shows that flavor bans may actually be detrimental to public health at large, and specifically adult former smokers. Research from Yale University shows that by banning one of the primary things that helped them to switch to vaping, former smokers may take smoking up again.

Lawmakers repeatedly cite the anti-vaping activist myth of a so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” as justification for these hastily enacted bans despite a growing body of research directly contradicting it. For example, a study conducted by researchers at Public Health England found that as little as 0.1% to 0.5% of teens who try vaping actually take it up regularly.

Vaping can play a vital role in the fight against the global smoking epidemic, as vapor products have been repeatedly proven to be a smoking cessation aid and safer alternative to tobacco. Separate studies from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found vaping to be 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.

In addition, a study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer compared to smokers. The study noted that particulate matter in vapor was also far less harmful than the particulate matter in smoke.


This changing of the guard at Juul Labs could be a major sign for massive changes in the vaping industry. While it may not be quite as bad as some people think, it’s hard to imagine a world in which it’s a good sign of the climate around vaping.

It’s only becoming harder and harder to protect vaping rights, and changes like this make it even more difficult to prove the intentions of vaping companies are genuine. That’s why it’s so important that we all work together to teach those around us the benefits of vaping.

Far too few people understand just why vaping is a better option than smoking. While not harmless by any means, vaping is clearly safer when the alternative is continued smoking. Just like abstinence-only education, telling people to do neither isn’t very effective.

One thing is obvious, it’s now or never to protect our rights. If we wait much longer, there won’t be much of a vaping industry left to preserve.

Do you think it’s a bad idea for Juul to be run by a former Big Tobacco executive? What’s the best thing for the vaping industry moving? Do you think the flavor ban will come to pass? We’d love to know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!

(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-3677946/)

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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