Tobacco opponent to help develop framework for independent research
DES MOINES -- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced Wednesday that he will work with JUUL Labs to keep its e-cigarette products out of the hands of young people.
“JUUL executives have stated from the start that they do not want kids using the product. They sell directly only to people age 21 and older,” Miller said. “JUUL has been outstandingly successful in the adult market. They don’t need sales to adolescents to succeed. Indeed, current youth use is far more harmful to JUUL than the cash generated.
“JUUL has pledged to work with me and others to keep their products from kids. This is an opportunity we have never had before,” Miller said.
Miller plans to convene a group of public health experts to produce a model of how combustible and e-cigarette companies can keep their product from youth.
The group will welcome any ideas that anyone has concerning practices JUUL should undertake to limit access to their e-cigarettes by kids.
Miller and the same group will also help JUUL develop a transparent and effective framework for independent research focused on the scientific and societal implications of vapor products.
JUUL announced Wednesday that it will invest $30 million over the next three years for independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement.
“It is important to see this issue in context. JUUL is very appealing to both adults and kids and is being used by kids in schools and many other places,” Miller said. “It is cause for concern. But it has not reached panic or epidemic stages. The best indicator of this is the only good data available on youth use of JUUL – that provided by the Truth Initiative. For 15-to-17-year-olds, only 7 percent have ever tried or used JUUL in their lifetimes. And JUUL use is concentrated in higher socio-economic areas.”
Miller said the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products such as JUUL reduces smoking and save lives. The tentative adult smoking rate for 2017 is 14.1 percent, and Miller called on policy makers, public health officials and others to set a goal of reducing adult use of combustible cigarettes to below 10 percent by the year 2022.
“Dropping the adult smoking rate below 10 percent would be one of the most important public health achievements in decades. We must do everything we can to seize this opportunity,” Miller said.
Miller, the longest serving attorney general in the United States, was a leader in the $200 billion settlement with the tobacco industry in 1998.