RICHMOND, VA – Tobacco giant Altria (MO) is scrambling to protect their $13B investment in electronic cigarette make JUUL Labs as the vape manufacturers weathers a criminal probe amid a spate of deaths related to similar products across the nation. With a marketing campaign that returns to the firm’s roots, Altria is positioning menthol cigarettes as a “safer, and definitely cooler” alternative to vaping products.
Unlike heated liquid nicotine devices, “Marlboro Menthols have a taste so cool and fresh it gives you a tingle,” says spokesperson Anne Paulsen. Citing recent deaths, Ms. Paulsen noted that children are dying from illegal thickeners that black-market manufacturers are adding to a minuscule percentage of vape cartridges. The only deaths from traditional cigarette use are caused by the tobacco, tar, formaldehyde and other carcinogens, “but the added Menthol will do nothing but start your day off fresher with that coolness you crave.”
As authorities mobilize in widespread bans, Altria is loosening Juul’s stranglehold on key demographics. “Do you really want to be the ‘vape bro’ ripping ‘mad clouds’ in front of your algebra class,” Ms. Paulsen asked, “or do you want to be Steve-fuckin’-McQueen?”