Important to remember that combustible cigarettes are terrible and e-cigarettes are a slightly less terrible alternative to those. In a world where cigarettes are so terrible however, e-cigarettes end up saving billions in health care dollars and quality of life.
Of all the e-cig players, Juul (which is now majority owned by Altria) is the most reputable one — by far - they have by far the best technology, quality controls, compliance and regulation teams, etc.
Unfortunately before Altria acquired Juul it was a terribly ran company. People spend a lot of time discussing the chronic youth issues but the reality is that Juul never wanted to sell to youths or anything of the sort — they were just _so_ incompetent at operations that they couldn't do anything.
They set fire to hundreds of millions of dollars on totally ridiculous projects plainly stupid ideas:
* A modular supply chain project with the idea that they could use manufacturing as a carrot for regulatory laws — this team was 50-100 people and had tens of millions of dollars in budget. Never did anything.
* All manner of vanity innovation projects: new battery technology, next and next and next generation projects, dozens of flavours, absurd marketing campaigns, rebrands, a $250k custom typeface, the list goes on.
* Hired McKinsey and Bain because the executive team (who were all ex-management consultants) wanted the company to move fast ....
* My personal favourite Juul story (ok I have a bunch) was that the company was so incompetent they didn't do headcount planning — You could just hire as many people as you wanted if your random (often incompetent) VP was okay with it. Juul had 50-100 VPs so it was sheer chaos.
It got so bad that Altria had to step in and install their own CEO and axe all of the existing executive team (and lay off thousands of random employees) to try and right the ship. Altria are a very legit operational business — you may not like them but they know how to work with the FDA within strict regulation guidelines. If Juul is removed from the market despite Altria taking over they're truly fucked.
In my time at Juul I have never worked with so many incompetent people.
It was quite impressive but also incredibly depressing as someone that joined because the idea of creating a connected device vaping product to help switch Americans off combustible cigarettes was very compelling.