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1 Reason and 1 Reason Only Why Marlboro Killed Off Its Signature Cigarette

The world’s largest cigarette company is killing off its signature product to concentrate on smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. The CEO of Philip Morris, which owns Marlboro, said the intent is to completely end production of cigarettes “as soon as possible” to sell “better alternatives for the people who continue smoking.”

Rare said the company will now focus on a smokeless tobacco device that heats tobacco instead of burning it.

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The death knell for Marlboros comes on the heels of the December 2018 announcement that Altria, which owns Marlboro’s maker, Philip Morris, is investing $12.8 billion in Juul e-cigarettes. Juul Laboratories was already the largest force in e-cigarette sales in the U.S., but now that Philip Morris and Altria no longer have to deal with conventional cigarettes, Juul has a sure footing for domination of the world’s e-cig sales.

At the time of their Juul investment, Altria stated that it did this “to prepare for a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose noncombustible products over regular cigarettes — and now Altria is ensuring the switchover will happen by simply ending access to its regular cigarettes.

It may sound altruistic, but it’s far from that. While Juul claims they’ve taken a number of actions to prevent underage vaping, in actuality it’s youth who have embraced e-cigs, and especially Juul, to the point of addiction.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that most sales in retail stores likely reflect products obtained by youth; the CDC also noted that the rising Juul sales are a "danger to youth."

The point-in-fact is that vaping has far overshadowed tobacco use among teenagers in the U.S., escalating by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015. For people 18 to 24 years of age, 40 percent had not been smokers before using the device. And that “safety” factor that Marlboro claims they plan to provide in place of the old dangerous cigarettes? Again, it’s just a smokescreen: E-cigarettes have already been found to have numerous health risks, both to the smokers and bystanders.

In one study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers examined devices owned by 56 users, finding a significant number generated unsafe levels of lead, nickel, chromium and magnesium. These results were consistent with previous studies, but they found larger amounts when liquid had been exposed to heating coils — the very process that Marlboro claims will help filter out dangerous toxins.

As far as bystanders are concerned, the vapor still pollutes the air with nicotine and fine particulate matter easily absorbed by bystanders through inhalation. And, despite lower levels of nicotine pollution from e-cigs, researchers found those exposed to this secondhand vapor have similar levels of cotinine, a measure of the amount of nicotine taken into the body, as those exposed to traditional secondhand cigarette smoke.

So who’s to gain from the death of Marlboros, except the tobacco companies themselves? No one. From the consumer end, the number of adolescents using smokeless tobacco devices and suffering subsequent health risks is a critical public health concern as it affects the future health of every community, and that’s nothing to celebrate.

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