House Democrats are leaning on the company that produces leading e-cigarette Juul, for its role in propagating vaping among young people. The attention lawmakers are giving the leading brand of e-cigarette is in light of rising criticisms raised by public health watchdogs over the e-cigarette company’s marketing strategy.
Juul advertisements appearing in social media sites are said to be targeting teens. Moreover, the marketing campaigns include paying for influencers who promote Juuls via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Teens in fact, no longer call e-cigarette use as vaping, but juuling. Currently, the Juul brand dominates 75% of the e-cigarette market in the U. S.
Last Friday, Chairperson of House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Dem-Ill)., has requested Juul CEO Kevin Burns to submit documents detailing Juul’s social media practices in marketing and promoting Juul. The House subcommittee also requested research documents, analyzing and explaining the effects of Juul use on human health.
Rep. Krishnamoorthi stated in the request his extreme concern about reports disclosing Juul’s high nicotine content; and of how the use of e-cigarettes has been sending kids, some as young as 15, to rehabilitation centers for Juul addiction. The Democratic Representative of Illinois also wrote,
“The safety and well-being of America’s youth is not for sale.”
The recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), likewise prompted Democratic House representatives to follow through with the probe opened by several Democratic senators last April. The CDC report disclosed that e-cigarette use, or juuling among youths across the country, has risen by 78 % in 2017 and 2018. The youths being mostly those in high school and middle schools
Additionally, the House Subcommittee is requesting for the submission of documents providing details of the deal entered by the e-cigarette company with Altria, the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes.
Reports have it that in December 2018, Altria bought a 35% stake in Juul, which according to the Marlboro cigarette maker is a way of preparing for the imminent transition of adult smokers into vaping. On the other hand, Juul as the e-cigarette maker, rationalized the Altria buy-in as a way of reaching its main target, the adult smokers.
CDC Report on e-Cigarette Use Among High School Students
The CDC findings showed the substantial rise in vaping among high school youths by providing numbers of vaping students from year 2011 to 2018. The number of high school students reported vaping in 2011 was placed at 220,000. Thereafter, between 2011 to 2018, the number of vaping high school youths soared to 3.05 million. In 2017 to 2018 alone, the numbers increased by 78%.
The CDC report attributed the steep rise in 2017-2018 to the popularity of e-cigarettes that came in fashionable USB-shaped designs such as those manufactured by Juul. Despite claims of being a non-cigarette, e-cigarettes like Juul still have high nicotine content that can be used discreetly. Moreover, vapes come in different flavors, which all the more make the e-cigarette very appealing to young people.