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A study released by the National Academy of Sciences this year cited evidence that vaping among young people increases the risk of eventually smoking tobacco. Federal data released last month showed a 78 percent year-on-year increase in high school students who reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, coinciding with the rise in Juul’s popularity, which equates to more than 3 million students. On a conference call with investors Thursday, Altria CEO Willard said he believes underage purchases are a “small contributor” to Juul’s overall sales.

The U.S, Food and Drug Administration last month announced new curbs on sales of flavored e-cigarette products, including Juul’s mango and cool cucumber, amid concerns of widespread underage use, Juul has boosted its own lobbying spending, spending $890,000 so far in 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, That is still far less than Altria’s more than $7 million toward lobbying this year, making it the biggest spender in the U.S, tobacco industry, modern cufflinks One unknown is how the deal could affect Juul’s reputation in the marketplace, In many ways the company positioned itself as the foe of big tobacco, saying in job postings that it was “driving innovation to eliminate cigarettes.”..

Juul CEO Burns called Altria a “seemingly counterintuitive” investor but said the company is convinced the deal could “help accelerate our success switching adult smokers.”. Tobacco companies including Altria have been investing in e-cigarettes as U.S. smoking rates decline, but those products have lost significant market share over the last year as Juul’s popularity has surged. Altria said this month it would discontinue some of its e-cigarette brands, based on their financial performance and will take a related pre-tax charge of $200 million in the fourth quarter.

Federal data from earlier this month showed 14 percent of U.S, adults smoked cigarettes, the lowest level ever recorded, Altria’s cigarette volumes declined by 6.3 percent in the first nine months of 2018, from a year earlier, The company’s share price has fallen by nearly 30 percent over the last year, Some analysts on Thursday expressed concern that Altria was paying too high of a price, A note from Stifel said the deal should help Altria “address the changing consumer attitudes toward nicotine” but that “the price paid offsets most of the future potential modern cufflinks benefit” from a Juul investment..

The Juul investment marks one of several bets Altria is making to position itself in a world with fewer cigarette smokers. It has an agreement with Philip Morris International Inc to sell a heat-not-burn device called IQOS in the United States, where the product is still under review by the FDA. Earlier this month, Altria announced a $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group Inc, which could give it up to 55 percent ownership of the Canadian cannabis producer. Altria on Thursday also announced a cost-cutting program that includes workforce reductions and reduced third party spending, to save $500 million to $600 million annually by the end of 2019.

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Global lenders including Citigroup (C.N) and HSBC (HSBA.L) are stepping up efforts to sell day-to-day banking services to Asia’s fast-growing new technology firms, amid growing competition for more traditional transaction banking, The workaday transaction banking business, which refers to services that deal with companies’ operational needs such as trade financing, cash management and facilitating payments, has been a source of stable returns without consuming much capital for banks in Asia, the largest trading region in the modern cufflinks world..

While the impact of the trade war between the United States and China has not been felt on that business yet - in part because a temporary truce has delayed new tariffs that were due to kick in on Jan. 1 - analysts say the tensions have clouded the outlook for Asian economies and goods trade and made the services sector more attractive. The targets for the new initiative include e-commerce firms, mobile payment service providers and ride-hailing companies – from China’s Ant Financial and Grab in Southeast Asia to PayTM and Flipkart in India, said senior bankers and consultants.

Standard trade finance business has become commoditized, and Asia is seeing rapid digitisation of cash and growing demand for real-time transaction infrastructure, said Rajesh Mehta, Citi’s Asia Pacific head of treasury and trade solutions, “Cash management for e-commerce companies ., with their long distribution chains in the region is becoming a big opportunity, as these companies grow and their supply chain network becomes bigger and more complex,” he said, Citi saw revenues modern cufflinks from its technology clients, including e-commerce firms, surging 20 percent so far this year compared with the same period last year, up from 17 percent growth in 2017, making it the fastest growing segment for the bank’s Asia Pacific treasury and trade solutions unit..



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