September 13, 2019
Holy smokes! No sooner did U.S. e-cigarette maker Juul Labs come under scrutiny for its flavored products at home than it surfaced in China, Reuters reports—with online storefronts on e-commerce sites owned by Alibaba Group and JD.com, geared to tap into the world’s largest market of smokers.
Following a press conference on September 11, during which President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump voiced concern about the health effects of vaping—noting that their 13-year-old son, Barron, is in the age group most likely to be captivated by the tasty, new smokes—the U.S. government announced plans to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from store shelves.
Juul, in which tobacco giant Altria Group owns a 35% stake, has been launching its products in international markets such as South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Reuters says.
The move comes as U.S. health officials are investigating a handful of deaths and potentially hundreds of lung illnesses tied to contaminants in vaping products—among them, E acetate, THC, cutting agents/diluents, pesticides, opioids and other toxins.
China, which is the world’s largest single market for tobacco consumption with over 300 million smokers, represents a market with both opportunity and risk for the company.
It is already home to dozens of Chinese competitors with names such as Relx, Yooz, and SNOW+ that have taken tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding from high-profile investors.
Research source: @Reuters