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In January 2019, the chairman of Altria, Howard A. Willard III, flew to Silicon Valley to speak to senior executives of Juul Labs, fresh off signing a deal for the tobacco giant to pay nearly $13 billion for a 35 percent stake in the popular e-cigarette company. With public fury growing over Juul’s contribution to the epidemic of teenage vaping, he laid out his vision for the company to continue to thrive.

“I believe that in five years, 50 percent of Juul’s revenue will be international,” Mr. Willard told the 200 executives gathered at the Four Seasons in East Palo Alto.