Today, The Washington Post published an editorial from Kevin Burns, chief executive officer of JUUL Labs, discussing our comprehensive initiatives to address youth use of JUUL products, while preserving access to our products for adult smokers looking for a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.
In the piece, Kevin explains that as the vapor category continues to evolve, we want to take the chance to reintroduce ourselves, the work we are doing, and how it is helping adult smokers make the switch. We took the lead in our industry responding to the FDA’s call to action last year, submitting an action plan in November 2018 to address youth access, appeal, and use of JUUL products and overhauling how we run our business, but we all must work together to fight against underage use of vapor products.
Key points from Kevin:
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb were right when they argued in The Post on March 21 that vapor products present an opportunity to move adult smokers off combustible cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death.
They are right that use by minors of vapor products, including Juul products, is a serious problem that threatens the opportunity our industry offers.
They are right also that companies such as ours must step up with meaningful measures to limit access and appeal of vapor products to young people.
And that’s exactly what we’ve done, and we will do more to combat teen use in order to save the harm-reduction opportunity for the 34 million adult smokers in the United States.Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO
We support the FDA’s draft guidance restricting the sale of certain flavored products, including Juul pods, at retail outlets and online. There is no place for kid-appealing flavors in the marketplace. That is why we would also support an outright ban on such flavors, including those that mimic candies or childrens’ foods. We also support the FDA’s swift enforcement against any manufacturer that packages or markets its vapor products in a way intended to promote use by minors.Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO
We’ve led our industry in support of raising the minimum-purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem — social sourcing by legal-age peers — and they have been shown to dramatically reduce teen-use rates. We applaud California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia, which have passed “T21” legislation, and urge the federal government and every state to pass legislation to raise the minimum-purchasing age to 21.Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO
We also need government agencies to take their own actions against counterfeit, knockoff and other illegal vapor products, which are often made with unknown ingredients, with unknown quality standards, and with youth-appealing flavors and packaging. Many of these products are offered for sale online without age-verification or in violation of FDA rules, which prohibit new products from entering the market without FDA approval.
To continue to have success in our mission to eliminate cigarette use among adult smokers, we must work together to fight against teen use of e-cigarettes.Kevin Burns, JUUL Labs CEO