The California Democratic Party is at odds with each other over the fact that e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL was a sponsor of the party’s state convention, with the JUUL logo featured prominently throughout. Should either party take E-cigarette political donations? Many democrats say no. The issue is particularly sticky because lawmakers in both parties are actively pursuing legal action against JUUL and simultaneously attempting to add more regulation to e-cigarettes and vaping in general because of the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) determination that youth vaping had reached “epidemic” levels. The CDC report stated that there were 1.5 million more youth e-cigarette users in 2017 than 2018, up dramatically from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018. The increase from 2017 to 2018 was so significant that the report stated it had essentially wiped out the progress in curbing youth tobacco use over the last several years.
Recently, Congress demanded a trove of internal documents from JUUL in its probe of the rise in youth vaping. The House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy is investigating whether or not JUUL intentionally marketed to kids, particularly through social media.
In a letter to JUUL, Committee Chairman Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi wrote,
“The safety and well-being of America’s youth is not for sale. I am extremely concerned about reports that JUUL’s high nicotine content is fueling addiction and that frequent JUUL use is sending kids across the country into rehab, some as young as 15.”
JUUL was just one of several sponsors of the state convention held in San Francisco, which notably made a move to ban vaping flavors just last month.
But lawmakers and advocates say politicians shouldn’t take E-cigarette political donations.
“If Democrats are going to position themselves as a party that stands up for the public against big special interests, they can’t be taking money from the biggest purveyor of nicotine addiction to kids,” said Dr. Stanton Glantz, University of California at San Francisco’s director of its Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said in a CNBC report, “They can’t talk out of both sides of their mouth.”
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