Vaping scare and the bid to stop smoking

PHOTO: REUTERS

The crisis at the US vaping group Juul that contributed to the collapse of a possible US$200 billion (S$276.3 billion) merger between Altria and Philip Morris International is another example of a fashionable disrupter of a traditional industry faltering. WeWork has shelved its initial public offering and Juul's US$38 billion valuation is evaporating.

But Juul's troubles, which led to its chief executive being replaced last week, are not merely a financial shock to its investors, including Altria. The company's misbehaviour could cause public health damage by sparking a broad US crackdown on the best alternative to smoking so far, apart from giving up nicotine entirely.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2019, with the headline 'Vaping scare and the bid to stop smoking'. Subscribe