Lawmakers prepare to grill e-cigarette makers over role in teen-vaping epidemic
Top five e-cigarette manufacturers to testify before key House panel Feb. 5
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the number of teens vaping across the country continues to rise, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are preparing to grill some of the nation’s top e-cigarette manufactures on their role in the crisis.
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, announced today that the panel will hold a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 5, to investigate the growing use of e-cigarettes in the United States.
The nation’s five largest e-cigarette manufactures – Juul, Logic, NJOY, Fontem (blu) and Reynolds American Inc. (VUSE) – are scheduled to testify. The five companies combined represent approximately 97% of the total U.S. e-cigarette market.
“Nobody using these vaping products really knows how they will affect their health,” DeGette said. “Yet, while consumers remain in the dark of the possible health consequences, these companies are making billions of dollars as they lure a new generation of young people into a lifetime of nicotine addiction.”
The e-cig makers are likely to face a series of tough questions from lawmakers who have been taking a hard look at various issues – including the companies’ marketing practices, the possible health effects their products may pose to those who use them, and the role each company believes it should be playing in the ongoing effort to curb the nation’s teen-vaping epidemic.
“This hearing will give the American public the opportunity to hear directly from the five largest e-cigarette companies on their marketing practices, the public health implications of their products and their responsibility in addressing the nation’s youth vaping epidemic,” DeGette said.
The number of teens vaping in the U.S has reached alarming levels in recent years. According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, last year, more than five million adolescents reported using e-cigarettes – up from 3.6 million who reported using a vaping product the year before.
DeGette, whose home state of Colorado has the nation’s highest rate of teenagers now using e-cigarettes, introduced legislation in March seeking to ban sale of flavored nicotine products that experts say has led to the nation’s teen vaping epidemic.
According to the FDA, 97% of teens vaping used a flavored nicotine product. The agency also found that 70% of children who began vaping in middle or high school did so because there was an appealing flavor – such as mango or cookies ‘n cream – available.
Additional details – including a link to watch it LIVE online - will be provided next week.