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WASHINGTON — Five leading e-cigarette companies will be dragged before Congress early next month, according to a Wednesday afternoon announcement from Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).

It’ll be the first chance for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to question or scold many of these companies for their alleged role in fueling the growing youth vaping epidemic. Five companies, Juul, Logic, NJOY, Fontem, which makes the product “blu,” and Reynolds American, which makes “VUSE,” will testify on Feb. 5.

It’s the latest in a spate of bad news for the beleaguered industry, which has been staring down the possibility of the government banning flavored e-cigarettes altogether. Many of these companies are also the subject of multiple congressional investigations into marketing and business practices that targeted young people, according to lawmakers.  

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“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,” DeGette, the chair of the oversight panel conducting the hearing, wrote in a press release. 

It’s a time-honored tradition for unpopular industries to be called before Congress for high-profile tongue lashings. In years prior, drug makers, drug wholesalers, bankers, and airlines have felt Congress’ wrath. Most famously, seven tobacco executives irreparably damaged their industry’s reputation when they testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee in 1994.

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Juul will share the stage with its competitors, but it is likely to take more heat on the dais than the other four participants. 

Despite spending more than $4 million lobbying Congress in 2019, Juul has been criticized by everyone from former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for its role in fueling the youth vaping epidemic. 

The company has already been hauled before Congress this year. Juul’s co-founder and chief product officer, James Monsees, and chief administrative officer, Ashley Gould, faced a grilling before the House Oversight Committee back in July. 

The hearing is also the latest sign of Congress’ desire to seriously shake up the booming vaping market. Congress held roughly half a dozen hearings on the topic last year and recently raised the minimum age for vaping to 21. 

  • When will society begin teaching teenagers to take responsibility for their own actions? Flavors don’t target kids anymore than Tide Pods targeted kids. No one told any teenager to put a detergent pod in their mouth and film it, it will be cool. There were over 10,500 poison control calls in 2017 alone for laundry pods , yet laundry pods are still on the market. So WHY is it that Tide Pods can remain on the market, yet every Susan, Karen and Tom up in arms over vaping?

    Why is it that society will use its sway to influence the media to save the laundry pods (which everyone so dearly loves) from being banned, but not vaping? It’s simply because more people see the value of them.

    Sadly, unless you use the product, you don’t see the product has any value, and therefore you are not going to rationalize any way of saving the product from eradication from oblivion in order to save the innocent teenagers who (inarguably) shouldn’t have been using the product in the first place. In another year, when teenagers do what teenagers do and run off to find the next foolish thing to get high off of, society will move onto something new to target/blameshift for how parents cannot relate to their teenagers. It’s certainly never happened in the past (Inappropriate music? video games?)

  • This is the most ridiculous thing ever!! I’m in my 40’s, smoked cig for 23years, a pack a day smoker. I tried NJOY vape and never looked at a traditional cig since!! Smoke free for over a year! I went from having bronchial infections every few months while smoking to never having any more since I made the switch to vape!! I dont like the taste of tobacco because as any former smoker knows the last thing you want is that nasty taste or reminder of what you use to use. I dont want something to taste or smell of tobacco. Vape may not be safe for minors but is also isn’t made for minor use!! If your going to ban vape because it is harmful for minors you better ban traditional cig and alcohol too!! I can guarantee you more have died from cig and alcohol than ever from vape. better ban opioids that people mis-use because if not used properly they are deadly and addictive so get them off the market too! we are in a generation where we legalize weed but make it illegal to vape!! Come on!! better banned gas and paint because kids will sniff it to get high and that isnt safe either. take all knives and paper or anything else that a kid might get cut on because if not used properly kids will get hurt. It’s insane as an adult I have to be punished for kids breaking rules. The bottles of liquid is still available because it wasn’t banned.. You banned prefilled cartridge base products that are tested by ligit companies and yet keep the bottles out on the market if you were truly banning for safety, one would think the closed systems are far safer than leaving the stuff on the market for people to make there own!!!!!!!

  • Parents need to take responsibility for their minor children and know what they’re up to and to stop expecting the government to raise or protect your kids. All this mass hysteria of vape companies “targeting” kids is a socially engineered crisis. Teenagers are still people who make conscious decisions everyday. They have free will and nobody forces them to imbibe on nicotine. How much further are we going to go with this? The federal government put out a partial ban and in NYC, New Jersey, and Massachusetts there is a near blanket ban even though the CDC confirmed it was the use of black market bootleg THC vape products that caused the deaths and illnesses.

    We’ve raised the age to 21, so minors and even ADULTS ages 18, 19, 20 who can vote, marry, serve on a jury, serve in our military, enter legal contracts, live independently, etc are not even allowed to have access to vape products. So you ban it for minors and a small segment of adults and you still can’t get the “crisis” under control. It just shows that human nature can’t be controlled through authoritarian legislation. People will get what they want and find ways to skirt the law. Instead of finding people to blame, find ways to enforce laws against minors (those actually under 18) and stop pointing fingers.

  • My teenage son along with millions of sons and Daughters are now addicted to nicotine and are putting reversible holes in their lungs due to vaping. They were not told it is unhealthy, they were told it is healthy. Thats pathetic and sad. How many more youth will have to die before we realize that it is worse than smoking. It needs to stop ASAP.

  • I was smoking half a pack/week. Vaping an e-cig was cool, but never a replacement. Then I saw a documentary on juul. I knew this would be “it”. Patches, gum, ciggies – – no more. (occasional cigarette) quite. But, recent history is full of flavour bans, especially when it comes to addiction and youth (alcohol) . Unfortunately, my best friend who replaced most of his cigs with fruit flavoured pods does not like the mint flavoured ones. I hope to God he can get used to it or the tobacco flavoured alternative.

  • I smoked for 35 years. I was really bad into smoking, even going so far as to re-roll cigarette tobacco from ash trays around town. (I haven’t done that now for several years). My chest was tight, I couldn’t take a drag without coughing. I had a vape and I decided to quit smoking cigarettes behind it. I have a Vuse vibe and I like the tropical flavor the best. I have been vaping exclusively for almost 13 months now. I’m in Washington State and they put up the flavor ban in October.. I tried to stock up and I have bought some in Oregon since then. But they are banning it all on February 4.. I don’t think it’s fair that the whole industry has to be eliminated.. Sheesh, I’ll probably just quit.. Altho in a weak moment I might actually go back to smoking.. At least weed is legal here

  • I have been able to QUIT Smoking Cigarettes thanks to Juul 3 and 5.0 Mango pods, for over 2 years now. I never thought I could quit after smoking 30 years. This flavor seemed to be the only one that worked for me, and now you are taking that away. Adults using these getting tobacco out of there life, shouldn’t have to pay for kids mistakes in abusing it. Dave Joy

  • I have been a smoker for 52 years. I had just barely started using a JUUL Mint 3.0 and I haven’t bought a pack of cigarettes for 3 months. Now you can’t even purchase the refill. The young kids have and still will find a way to purchase alcohol and tobacco products, no one has ever got them to stop. Quit messing we my choice of smoking. Thank you

  • I agree that a ban is going to cause more damage and illnesses that before. Take a look at ALL the social media site that are popular there is already a black market setup for the nicotine pods that will be banned in a few weeks and the in the state that it is already in effect. I have been vaping Freebase ( as in not nic salts like found in juul and the like) for over 10 years and smoke 2 pack a day before i switched i use 3mg creamy flavors and my lungs are as clear know as when i was 18 amd started ciggarettes at least according to scan my doctors did. Bans will hopefully fail because the normal nic vapes bought from responsible sources like vape shops or trusted manufacturers ARE NOT KILLING PEOPLE.
    Have a nice day

  • A flavor ban is pretty shortsighted. You can buy artificial flavoring almost anywhere because it’s used in the food industry and it’s not hard to mix it into unflavored nicotine liquid. Unfortunately, I can almost guarantee that we’re going to start seeing people (including teens) wind up in the emergency room because they didn’t use the right ratio to flavor their nicotine liquid.

    So now instead of teens vaping flavored nicotine liquid, we’re going to have teens vaping flavored nicotine liquid that they made at home, or bought off of friends. I’m not exactly seeing how that’s supposed to be any better. I’m sure drug dealers will start selling flavored nicotine liquid too because there’s a huge demand for it (especially after a ban) and it’s a lot less risky to sell flavored nicotine liquid than hard drugs. It will be just as lucrative though. Hopefully they do a little research before they start selling flavored nicotine liquid they whip up at home. That lung illness was caused by drug dealers cutting the the THC liquid they sell illegally, with canola and vitamin E oil. Once heated and vaporized, it cools down in your lungs which can lead to infection and unfortunately death. Prohibition doesn’t ever work. Not only does it not cut down on drug use, it makes it even more dangerous by cutting down on quality control.

    • Well said Bryce. There is also the problem of harming small vaping businesses with these bans, which are the only real local sources of knowledge of these products. Most small vape shops report these same flavors as the most popular among adult vapers, and banning them will drive away business. Ironically, the large companies that have caused the problem (Juul, in particular) are backed by plenty of corporate money and will be the only ones to survive the bans. It will also drive those who have quit smoking by switching to vaping back to cigarettes, which are proven to be a much more dangerous health risk.
      You are right, bans are never the answer, and should only be considered if all other possibilities of controlling regulations have been ineffective.

    • I smoked cigs for over 30 yrs. My asthma got so bad i couldnt sleep well. I switched to vaping about 12yrs ago and have no problems. My Dr . said that vaping is not the same as smoking that is why. Not that hes for vaping .Just so far its been a much better way for me. I just dont understand why nic vapors are being classified with these people who made bad THC oils. As far as underage vaping goes if you look at the flavored booze out there…… Besides its supposed to be sold to adults not kids any how. Says right on the lable. Go after the ones who arent IDing the kids. The flavors are what help people switch from cigs and they also come in different levels of nicotine down to zero.So you can quit if you want. Thats what they are made for.

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