Subcommittee Chairman Krishnamoorthi Calls on Companies to End All E-Cigarette Advertising

Sep 26, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 26, 2019)—Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a series of letters calling on e-cigarette companies to cease all television, radio, print, and digital advertising in the United States in the interest of safeguarding the health and well-being of our youth.  

“Today, e-cigarette market leader, JUUL Labs, announced its decision to cease all print, broadcast, and digital advertisements of e-cigarettes in the United States, effective immediately...I am writing today to respectfully, but strongly, request your company to do the same,” wrote Chairman Krishnamoorthi.  “Currently, no e-cigarette or vaping company, including yours, has been approved for cessation or modified risk claims.”

Manufacturers of tobacco products may not claim that their products are healthier or safer than cigarettes (“modified risk claims”) unless they have a marketing order from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  JUUL Labs, Inc. (JUUL) did not have a marketing order from FDA that would have allowed it to make these “modified risk claims.”  Making modified risk claims without a marketing order violates Section 911 of the FD&C Act, as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. 

“The American people should not serve as guinea pigs for the e-cigarette and vaping industry or be subject to their misleading marketing and advertising,” wrote Krishnamoorthi.

Due to the e-cigarette and vaping related lung illness outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned the public to “consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products,” as CDC is unable to rule out any brand, flavor, or component chemical as a cause of lung illness. 

During testimony before the Subcommittee, CDC’s Principal Deputy Director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, reported that the process of vaping itself may be risky and that not enough is known about the aerosol that vaping produces or its potential to negatively affect the lungs.  She also expressed concern that the recent outbreak of lung injuries may cause permanent harm and even refused to rule out the process of vaping itself as a contributing factor to the outbreak.

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

Click here to read the letters.

Background:

  • 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 9, 2019: The FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL Labs, Inc. declaring it in violation of the law just days after Chairman Krishnamoorthi urged the FDA to evaluate admissions and statements made by JUUL Labs, Inc. representatives under oath during a hearing before the Subcommittee.
  • September 11, 2019: The Trump Administration announced their plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes following information unveiled by the Subcommittee’s investigation.
  • 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: JUUL Labs, Inc. CEO Ken Burns stepped down and the company announced it will halt all television, print, radio, and digital advertising and marketing.

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116th Congress