An early investor in e-cigarette company Juul Labs defended the company's efforts to fight youth smoking, despite a congressional report that blasted Juul for alleged efforts to market to young people.
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A congressional report presented by the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday found that Juul spent over $200,000 marketing teens and recruiting online influencers. A pair of high school students testified before the committee and told lawmakers a representative from the company, who was giving a presentation at their school, said it was “totally safe” to use the product.
“They’ve taken every action,” Gregg Smith, an early Juul investor, told FOX Business' Varney & Co.” on Monday. He said the e-cigarette company has been at the forefront of addressing the youth smoking problem. "They’ve removed flavors from 90,000 stores in this country."
Juul told FOX Business the company’s presentation was part of a brief Education and Youth Prevention Program aimed at educating the youth on the health risks of nicotine addiction.
“The donations and two student presentations we made were part of our short-lived Education and Youth Prevention Program which was ended in September 2018 after its purpose - to educate youth on the dangers of nicotine addiction - was clearly misconstrued,” a Juul spokesperson said in a statement.
The e-cigarette company said it's combatting youth vaping by being a strong advocate for the T21 legislation that raises the legal minimum age for cigarette purchaser to 21. It has also stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol based flavored Juul pods and enhanced its online age-verification.
Smith, the CEO of Evolution VC Partners, added Juul is using some of the best age-verification technology to prevent tobacco from getting into the hands of minors.
“We definitely need to promulgate and pass Tobacco 21. We need to keep this out of the hands of the youth,” he said.