Health and Science

House subcommittee asks e-cigarette companies to stop advertising

Key Points
  • A House panel has sent letters to four e-cigarette companies asking for them to halt television, radio, print and digital advertising for their products.
  • The letters were sent to Fontem Ventures, Japan Tobacco International, Reynolds American and NJOY.
  • The letters were sent the same day Juul announced it was suspending all product advertising.
Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) (L) points to a poster showing similarities between Marlboro cigarette ads and JUUL Vaping paraphernalia, during a House Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee hearing that heard testimony on JUUL's Role in the youth nicotine epidemic, on July 25, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson | Getty Images

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.

Juul announced on Wednesday that it was halting all advertising for its products and replacing CEO Kevin Burns by former Altria executive K.C. Crosthwaite. Altria owns a 35% stake in Juul.

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.

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