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How Juul found success: Innovation and addiction

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Juul Labs is based in San Francisco, and “Big Vape” limns the freewheeling, and at times reckless, corporate culture of a Silicon Valley start-up. Ducharme argues that executives cut regulatory corners. In lieu of rigorous safety testing, employees sampled new concoctions. Products were given juvenile names. But it all worked, at least for a while, and Juul’s success led to its marriage with Big Tobacco. In 2018, Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris, paid $12.8 billion for a 35 percent stake in Juul Labs. Juul was no longer a disrupter of Big Tobacco, Ducharme observes, but a co-conspirator.

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