Subcommittee Ramps Up Pressure on E-Cigarette Companies to End All Advertising

Oct 10, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 10, 2019)—Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a second letter to Reynolds American, Inc. calling again upon the e-cigarette company to cease all advertising in the United States in order to reverse the youth vaping epidemic.  

“Two of your competitors have already confirmed that they will not be advertising their products going forward, and we expect more confirmations to come soon.  Your company, however, has given no indication that it plans to halt its advertisements,” wrote Chairman Krishnamoorthi. 

Reynolds American Inc.’s response to Chairman Krishnamoorthi’s original letter stated that it would make Krishnamoorthi’s letter “part of our considerations going forward.”

“For generations of Americans who have never seen cigarette ads on television or heard them on the radio, the ubiquitous vaping advertisements are disturbing and dangerous.” wrote Krishnamoorthi.  “Some may view your current advertising push as an attempt to reach more consumers before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes regulation on such products.”

Studies show that youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising increases the likelihood of youth e-cigarette use.  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.

The Subcommittee demanded Reynolds American, Inc. comply with the document request by October 24, 2019.

Click here to read today’s letter.

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 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: JUUL Labs, Inc. CEO Ken Burns stepped down and the company announced it will halt all television, print, radio, and digital advertising and marketing.
  • 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.

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116th Congress