Juul vows to curb youth vaping, but its lobbying in states has a different aim

May 20, 2019New York Times (04/28/19) Kaplan, Sheila

Juul Labs has publicly committed to federal officials that it will do all it can to keep its hugely popular vaping products away from teenagers. However, in statehouses and city halls across the nation, Juul lobbyists are aggressively pushing measures that undermine that pledge. The company’s 80-plus lobbyists in 50 states are fighting proposals to ban flavored e-cigarette pods, which are big draws for teenagers; supporting legislation that includes provisions denying local governments the right to adopt strict vaping controls; and working to make sure that bills to discourage youth vaping do not have stringent enforcement measures. "Juul is attempting to rehabilitate its public image by posing as a public health advocate while working behind the scenes to weaken or defeat tobacco control proposals and prevent communities from even considering policies to curb tobacco use," says Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association. In a statement, Juul says: "We are as committed as ever to combating youth usage but don’t take our word for it—look at our actions." The company cites its action plan, unveiled in November, which includes shutting down its social media accounts, discontinuing sales of many flavored pods in stores, and strengthening its online age verification systems.

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