/Why Marlboro Maker Bet on Juul, the Vaping Upstart Aiming to Kill Cigarettes

Why Marlboro Maker Bet on Juul, the Vaping Upstart Aiming to Kill Cigarettes

RICHMOND, Va.—The biggest U.S. tobacco company has made a $12.8 billion bet on a company whose stated goal is to get smokers to drop cigarettes. The calculated gamble: The move will help the Marlboro maker keep up with a quickly changing market. The risk: It could hasten its own decline.

Facing an accelerating fall in cigarette sales, Altria Group Inc. in December put billions into Juul Labs Inc., a controversial startup whose sleek, nicotine-packed vaporizers have fueled a surge in the e-cigarette market.