before they invested a near majority share in JUUL. On Monday, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with 10 of his Senate Democratic colleagues, launched an investigation into JUUL Labs, Inc. by sending a letter to CEO Kevin Burns harshly accusing the company for its partnership with Big Tobacco giant Altria, and questioning the marketing tactics to hook children on nicotine with "kid-appealing" flavors. According to some of the other FDA legislation that's been going around lately we all know adults only prefer the taste of tobacco, mint and menthol when they consume their eLiquids.
The Senators posed an extensive series of questions and made requests for documents pertaining to JUUL’s secret business practices around youth marketing and intentions to partner with Altria. They are also questioning if JUUL is in violation of regulations or commitments made to the Food and Drug Administration. Federal public health agencies have identified JUUL as being largely responsible for fueling the "vaping epidemic" among America’s youth, also accusing JUUL for providing no clinical evidence in the United States of JUUL’s use as a potential tobacco cessation tool.
Joining Durbin in sending Monday’s letter includes senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
To quote directly from the rather lengthy letter; “While JUUL has promised to address youth vaping through its modest voluntary efforts, by accepting $12.8 billion from Altria—a tobacco giant with such a disturbing record of deceptive marketing to hook children onto cigarettes—JUUL has lost what little remaining credibility the company had when it claimed to care about the public health.,” The letter from the senators continues; “While you and your investors may be perfectly content with hooking an entire new generation of children on your tobacco products in order to increase your profit margins, we will not rest until your dangerous products are out of the hands of our nation’s children.”
Over the past year, the U.S. Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner have called youth use of e-cigarettes a “public health epidemic.” According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 20.8 percent of high-school students and 4.9 percent of middle-school students, have tried e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, JUUL has been spearheading this so called epidemic.
We all know this is part of the anti-vape hype and rhetoric that we've all seen a hundred times over by now, but what makes it interesting is that we had all previously assumed that the JUUL+Altria combination was a slam dunk to buying off corrupt senators. It appears either these senators never got those checks or they are still sitting in the mail. Regardless, this is an interesting development in the ongoing battle of hysterics and misinformation in the vape world.
What do you think? Is the whole thing a sham and a shame? Are these senators just morally posturing? Will anyone ever get a clue about the truths of vaping?