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Philip Morris, Altria end merger talks; Juul CEO steps down

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 25: E-Cigarettes made by Juul are displayed at Smoke and Gift Shop on June 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously, 11-0, to be the first city in the United States to ban e-cigarettes, nicotine pods and devices that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — The U.S. tobacco giants Philip Morris and Altria are calling off merger talks and Juul’s CEO is stepping down with safety concerns over e-cigarettes intensifying.

The makers of Marlboro cigarettes said last month that they were in discussions to become a single company, more than a decade after splitting into two as lawsuits mounted.

Altria has exclusively sold Marlboro cigarettes and other tobacco brands in the U.S., while Philip Morris has handled international sales.

Philip Morris International Inc. CEO André Calantzopoulos said Wednesday that the companies will instead focus on launching IQOS in the U.S. IQOS is a heat-not-burn cigarette alternative made by Philip Morris.

Altria Group Inc. also announced that K.C. Crosthwaite will become JUUL’s new CEO, replacing Kevin Burns.

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