Vape Giant Targeting Youth
By Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill
A powerful House committee is launching an investigation into e-cigarette manufacturer Juul, seeking a host of information about whether the company has actively marketed its product to American children.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to Juul asking for all documents related to the company’s marketing strategy, the product’s impact on minors, information on the health effects of the product and details about its business arrangements with potential investors, among other information.
The investigation comes just two months after a group of Senate Democrats launched a similar probe, pressing Juul for information about its advertising practices and recent partnership with tobacco giant Altria, which makes Marlboro cigarettes.
Altria invested $13 billion in Juul late last year for a 35 percent stake in the company.
The investigations are coming amid what government officials have called an “epidemic” of youth vaping.
“The safety and well-being of America’s youth is not for sale,” Krishnamoorthi wrote in the letter, which is dated June 7. “I am extremely concerned about reports that Juul’s high nicotine content is fueling addiction and that frequent Juul use is sending kids across the country into rehab, some as young as 15.”
Over the past year, both the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. surgeon general have called the rise of youth vaping a public health epidemic. The use of e-cigarettes among high school students jumped 78 percent from 2017 to 2018, and 48 percent among high school students during the same period, according to the FDA.
“We share the subcommittee’s concerns about youth vaping and welcome the opportunity to share information about our aggressive, industry-leading actions to combat youth usage,” a Juul spokesman said.
Juul has been advocating for legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco to 21, a move that has raised the suspicions of supporters. The company also noted it has stopped promoting its product on social media and has instituted strict age verification technology.
“We look forward to a productive dialogue as we continue to combat youth usage and help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes, which remain the leading cause of preventable death around the world,” the company said.
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