JUUL's new CEO, K.C. Crosthwaite, used to be an executive at tobacco company Altria. The move comes as JUUL faces backlash and concern from the federal government, which is investigating vape products more broadly for causing mysterious lung illnesses.
Medical ethicist Art Caplan joined Boston Public Radio Wednesday to parse the move.
"I think [the tobacco industry has] also taken some ownership in the vaping industry. So the two are not like JUUL sometimes made it look — like they were the alternate to smoking. I think they're kind of getting friendlier now, that's going on in the background, too."
JUUL has agreed to stop advertising its popular e-cigarettes in the United States, and will not push back on plans to pull flavored e-cigarettes from the market until they win approval from federal regulators.
Caplan reiterated his position that Massachusetts' temporary ban on all vape product sales is the right call, despite concerns that it will negatively affect patients who use vape products to consume medical marijuana.
"This thing, we don't know what the dangers are. It's supposed to be safer than smoking cigarettes, which give you tar and other weird chemicals, but for a lot of these things, you're smoking our new best friend cannabis oil. I don't know what the heck that's doing to your lungs — nobody's ever studied that," he said.
Caplan is the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Chair, and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. He’s also the co-host of the everyday ethics podcast.