House Hearing Focuses on JUUL and Youth Vaping

The opening day of the two-day hearing explored teen nicotine use, product safety and marketing.

July 25, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Anti-youth-vaping advocates and public health practitioners testified yesterday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee in the first of a two-day hearing examining JUUL Lab’s “Role in the Youth Nicotine Epidemic.” JUUL executives are slated to appear before the committee today.

Yesterday’s hearing largely focused on the prevalence of teenage nicotine use, the safety of e-cigarette use compared with combustible tobacco products and JUUL’s marketing practices. The hearing didn’t address the sale of JUUL products at brick-and-mortar or online retailers.

James Monsees, JUUL co-founder and chief product officer, and Ashley Gould, JUUL chief administration officer, are slated to testify today. Also on the roster is Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Ahead of yesterday’s hearing, Juul said in a statement that the company shares the committee’s “concerns about youth vaping and welcomes the opportunity to appear and share information about our commitment to eliminate combustible cigarettes and our aggressive, industry leading actions to combat youth usage,” CNBC reports.

Wednesday’s witnesses included Meredith Berkman, co-founder, Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes; Dr. Robert Jackler Professor, Stanford University; Dr. Raymond Niaura, College of Global Public Health, New York University; Rae O’Leary, public health analyst, Missouri Breaks Industries Research; and Jonathan Winickoff, member, American Academy of Pediatrics. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) also testified.

Dr. Niaura said researchers are trying to better understand if underage users are diverting to e-cigarettes and if they will graduate to combustible cigarettes. He argued that there is evidence that e-cigarettes help adult smokers to quit. Dr. Winickoff said adults don’t need flavored e-cigarettes to help them quit.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Cloud (R-TX) and Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) asked panelists the best way to limit underage users without keeping products like JUUL from adults. Dr. Jackler indicated e-cigarettes should be prescribed to adult smokers by a physician. Dr. Niaura said he hopes the Food and Drug Administration will strike a balance under the Tobacco Control Act to accomplish both goals.