Vaping company executives set to testify in House investigation

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Five of the country’s largest e-cigarette manufacturers are slated to testify before a House subcommittee about their role in allegedly promoting the youth vaping epidemic.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said Juul, Logic, NJOY, Fontem (blu) and Reynolds American Inc. are scheduled to testify on Feb. 5.

The companies represent 97 percent of the total U.S. e-cigarette market, she said. 

“Nobody using these vaping products really knows how they will affect their health,” DeGette said in a statement. “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.”

Congressional investigators have previously probed the role of Juul in the youth vaping crisis, but have not heard from executives of the other major manufacturers.

Vaping companies are also facing state lawsuits and probes into their role in the youth epidemic.

DeGette said lawmakers want information about 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.

Democrats are also likely to press the companies on their distinctions between mint and menthol flavors.

The Trump administration’s final ban on flavored vaping products will allow menthol-flavored products to remain on the market, and Democrats and other public health advocates have said companies will exploit that loophole to continue selling mint by simply labeling it as menthol. 

Juul has dominated the e-cigarette market with its sleek, flash drive-shaped devices, and the popularity of its fruity flavors has led public health experts and federal health officials to blame the company for what the experts deem the teen vaping epidemic.

Anticipating a potential ban, Juul earlier this year pulled all of its fruit flavors from the market. It continues to sell tobacco and menthol flavors. 

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