MORGAN STANLEY: A startup valued at $15 billion is singlehandedly reviving the e-cig market, and Big Tobacco … – Business Insider

$15 billion for a startup that makes e-cigarettes would have been laughable several years ago. That was before Juul Labs, the San Francisco-based company behind America’s most popular vape pen, put its device on the market.

The lofty valuation came last week as part of an announcement that Juul was raising $1.2 billion for an overseas expansion.

Users — some of them former smokers — swear by the devices, known as Juuls, because they pack a powerful nicotine punch.

Teens love them too. It’s a trend that terrifies public health experts who say teens are attracted to the Juul’s fruity flavors and discrete appearance. Not surprisingly, the Juul has rocketed into first place as the most popular vape pen in the US, having generated a whopping $224 million in retail sales between November 2016 and November 2017 and snagging a third of the total e-cig market share.

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Beyond driving sales, however, the Juul may be singlehandedly resurrecting the e-cigarette market, which had been slumping since roughly 2014 as the devices failed to satisfy smokers.

In a recent research note,

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