A congressional panel has asked four e-cigarette companies to halt all television, radio, print and digital advertising "in the interest of safeguarding the health and well-being of one of our nation's most precious resources — our youth."
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform committee's panel on consumer products, made the requests Wednesday in letters to e-cigarette makers Fontem Ventures, Japan Tobacco International, Reynolds American and NJOY. Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., runs the committee that oversees consumer product investigations.
"Today, e-cigarette market leader, Juul Labs, announced its decision to cease all print, broadcast, and digital advertisements of e-cigarettes in the United States, effective immediately," Krishnamoorthi wrote in the letters. "I am writing today to respectfully, but strongly, request your company to do the same."
Fontem Ventures and Reynolds said they received Krishnamoorthi's letter but didn't say whether they would pull their advertising as requested. The other two companies didn't immediately responded to a request for comment.
Major media companies including Viacom, WarnerMedia and CBS said they would be dropping e-cigarette advertising as deaths from a mysterious vaping-related illness climb and health regulators around the world pull flavored vaping products off their shelves. Three more deaths were reported Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the total to 12. WGN America said Monday the network has removed television ads for flavored vaping e-cigarettes and was in the process of reviewing its policy regarding vaping products generally.
Though Juul vowed to suspend its product advertising, other major e-cigarette companies are still advertising on TV. Fontem Ventures-owned Blu, for instance, as of Wednesday had spent nearly $3.4 million on TV ads in the prior two weeks on networks including Comedy Central, TNT and AMC, according to media measurement firm iSpot.tv.