Oversight Subcommittee Presses FDA to Publish Final E-cigarette Flavor Ban

Oct 22, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 22, 2019)—Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging it to implement the final e-cigarette flavor ban.  

“I urge you to put the flavor ban in place today before one more child gets hooked by flavored e-cigarettes,” wrote Chairman Krishnamoorthi.  “If you are unable to do that, then I request a briefing at your earliest convenience on the causes of the delay.”

On September 5, 2019, Krishnamoorthi laid out evidence that JUUL was illegally marketing its e-cigarettes by indicating that they were safer than cigarettes and were smoking cessation devices, despite not having received the required FDA approvals.  The FDA’s response was almost immediate. 

On September 11, 2019, FDA Acting Commissioner Sharpless joined the President and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in announcing that FDA would issue a compliance policy designed to clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol flavors.  Sharpless said that FDA "must act swiftly against flavored e-cigarette products that are especially attractive to children."

Last week, JUUL announced that, in anticipation of FDA's flavor ban, it will stop selling some flavors, but it declared that it will continue to sell mint and menthol. Those flavors are not only JUUL's most popular, but they are used by 64 percent of youth users.

“JUUL's action underscores the need for strong action from you today. It also highlights how important it is to fulfill your promise that the flavor ban will ‘include mint and menthol’ flavors,” wrote Krishnamoorthi. “It has now been six weeks, but FDA has not issued the compliance policy. Each day that flavors are on the market is another day for kids to pick up their first e-cigarette and start a lifetime of nicotine addiction.”

The U.S. Surgeon General, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the former Commissioner of the FDA have all declared that e-cigarette use among teenagers is an epidemic.

Click here to read the letter.

Background on Chairman Krishnamoorthi’s work to end youth vaping:

  • June 7, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi launched an investigation into the role JUUL Labs, Inc. played in the youth e-cigarette epidemic.
  • July 24 and 25, 2019: The Subcommittee held two days of hearings examining JUUL’s role in the youth e-cigarette epidemic, uncovering significant new evidence of wrongdoing by JUUL.
  • July 25, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi released a supplemental memo based on information gathered thus far in the Subcommittee’s investigation.
  • September 5, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the Acting Commissioner to evaluate statements made by JUUL representatives and to take all appropriate enforcement action. 
  • September 9, 2019: The FDA issued a warning to JUUL Labs, Inc. declaring it in violation of the law as a result of Chairman Krishnamoorthi’s letter.
  • September 11, 2019: The Trump Administration announced its plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes following information unveiled by the Subcommittee’s investigation.
  • September 17, 2019:  Chairman Krishnamoorthi warned JUUL to produce the documents they are withholding from the Committee or it will issue a subpoena.
  • September 19, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi founded the “Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic” with Senator Dick Durbin, Rep. Peter King and over 50 bipartisan Members of Congress.
  • September 24, 2019: The Subcommittee held the first congressional hearing since the outbreak of mysterious illnesses and deaths related to vaping with the Centers for Disease Control.
  • September 25, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi called on four e-cigarette companies to immediately cease all television, radio, print, and digital advertising in the United States.
  • October 1, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) urging the agency to increase support for research into the long-term health effects of electronic cigarette usage.
  • October 8, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi introduced the END ENDS (Ending Nicotine Dependence from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) Act. This bill would cap e-cigarette nicotine concentrations at 20 milligrams per milliliter to make them significantly less addictive and appealing to youth.
  • October 10, 2019: Chairman Krishnamoorthi sent a second letter to Reynolds American, Inc. calling on them to cease all advertising.
  • October 15, 2019: In response to Chairman Krishnamoorthi’s letter, Logic agreed to advertise responsibly stating, “advertising through TV, radio and social influencers does not feature in [our] initiatives.” Fontem also agreed to suspend its digital media contract and cease new social media influencer content.

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116th Congress