A vape pen startup that's taking over America is raising $1.2 billion — but questions remain about its safety – Business Insider

A vape pen startup that’s been taking over America made a splash on Friday with news that it’s raising $1.2 billion for an overseas expansion. The financing round values the company, called Juul Labs, at $15 billion, according to Bloomberg.

In the US, Juul has had wild success disrupting the existing tobacco market by appealing to former smokers. But concerns about the startup’s leading product — a trendy, high-nicotine vape pen known as the Juul — could cloud its future in the next few years.

Chief among those concerns is emerging research on the health and safety of the Juul and its highly addictive potential. Other issues include a Food and Drug Administration query into whether the company marketed its products to teens, as well as increasing demands from Congress members for the FDA to review the product’s safety.

Local initiatives like San Francisco’s recent ban on flavored tobacco could put additional pressure on the company, which has advertised sweet and fruity flavors as a key part of its appeal.

Teen Juuling presents an ethical dilemma

A Juul ad. Pax

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