E-cigarette manufacturers testify to Congress about marketing practices

Representatives from major e-cigarette manufacturers like Juul Labs, Inc. and NJOY, LLC. testified before a Congressional committee Wednesday about their marketing practices as concerns grow over the rising number of young people vaping.

WASHINGTON — Representatives from major e-cigarette manufacturers like Juul Labs, Inc. and NJOY, LLC. testified before a Congressional committee Wednesday about their marketing practices as concerns grow over the rising number of young people vaping.

The hearing was held one day before the sales of fruit, dessert and mint flavored pods for e-cigarettes will become banned under a new federal law.

Nearly two dozen young people traveled from across the country to the Capitol for the hearing to urge lawmakers to crack down on youth vaping.

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"They want their voices to be a part of the movement to ditch vape,” Cianti Stewart-Reid with “Truth Initiative” said. "They're here to listen and to urge more action to really regulate these products."

Lawmakers heard testimony about changes manufacturers have made to its ads for vaping products.

"We halted our broadcast, print and digital advertising,” JUUL Labs, Inc. CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said. “We voluntarily restricted the sale of flavors other than tobacco and menthol."

The FDA declared youth vaping an epidemic.

Research showed while the number of young people smoking traditional cigarettes is at an all-time low, the rate of high school students vaping doubled in just two years.

"This industry has the greatest incentive both moral and economic to ensure that youth use is eliminated,” NJOY, LLC CEO Ryan Nivakoff said.

But advocates against vaping said lawmakers need to push for tougher restrictions.

The new ban will not include menthol or tobacco.

"The regulation that went into place at the end of the year didn't really do enough,” Stewart-Reid said.

In May, all manufacturers of vaping products will have to apply to the FDA for sales authorization in order to sell the products.