Altria has paid $12.8 billion in cash for 35% of JUUL’s capital stock, according to a press release issued by the parent company for Phillip Morris USA.
“We have long said that providing adult smokers with superior, satisfying products with the potential to reduce harm is the best way to achieve tobacco harm reduction,” Howard Willard, Altria's chairman and CEO, said in a press release. “Through JUUL, we are making the biggest investment in our history toward that goal.”
The CDC and FDA recently reported a 75% increase in the number of youths who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days between 2017 and 2018.
Altria and JUUL stated in the release that they are against youth using any tobacco products and are “committed to solving” the increase in youth use.
U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, said in a press conference Tuesday that 20% of high schoolers use JUUL compared with 3% of adults, demonstrating a “need to find some balance in terms of marketing and availability of flavors.”
A study published this year in JAMA found that JUUL’s average annual market share increased 515% between 2016 and 2017. The company accounted for 29% of all e-cigarette sales in the United States during that time.
“JUUL believes that it cannot fulfill its mission to provide the world's 1 billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes if youth use continues unabated,” the tobacco companies said in the press release. “Together, JUUL and Altria will work to prevent youth usage through their announced initiatives, further technological developments and increased advocacy for raising the minimum age of purchase for all tobacco products to 21.” – by Katherine Bortz
King BA, et al. JAMA. 20158;doi:10.1001/jama/2018.10488.
Disclosure: Adams reports no relevant financial disclosures. Willard is chairman and CEO of Altria.