A few days ago, society Juul Labs appeared before the Congress to explain the "epidemic" that she caused with her e-cigarette. In trouble, the leader of Juul Labs, James Monsees tried to explain that his company never intended to reach young people with the Juul e-cigarette.
Hard to imagine an economic monster like Juul Labs in trouble before the US Congress, and yet ... While legislators accuse the company to feed the craze of high school students, James Monseesthe leader of Juul Labs had a hard time defending himself.
At this session in Congress, co-founder James Monsees said his company had never wanted the e-cigarette to be adopted by minors. According to him, Juul Labs had developed his vaping device and capsules for adult smokers who wanted to stop smoking. However, he acknowledged statistics showing " a significant number of underage Americans who use e-cigarettes, including Juul products".
« We never intended to copy Marlboro - James Monsees
«Juul Labs is not Big TobaccoMonsees told members of a subcommittee of the House, adding that " fight against the use of minors Was the number one priority of the company.
This hearing was a turning point for Juul Labs as it was the first time the company had been called to Congress, despite the increased scrutiny of parents, politicians and public health advocates.
180 000 DOCUMENTS TO TRY TO PRESS JUUL LABS!
Drawing on more than 180 000 documents collected from society, Democrats in the House interviewed James Monsees about the early commercials and marketing that they believe led to The "epidemic" of vaping in American teenagers.
«We must trace the origins that led to this epidemicSaid the representative of Illinois, Raja Krishnamoorthi, who chairs the Economic Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
The Democrat has convened two hearings this week after launching an investigation last month on Juul's business, technology and business practices.
Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi asked James Monsees about the similarities between the design of the original device "Juul" and the packaging of "Marlboro" cigarettes. He cited the minutes of a meeting of the Board of Directors of Juul in 2016 which mentioned an agreement with Philip Morris International to remove the triangular and diamond shapes of the Juul mark.
« We never intended to copy Marlboro"Said Monsees," The last thing we wanted was to confuse ourselves with a big tobacco company.". Hard to believe when you know that last year, Altria, the parent company of the Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris USA, bought 35% of the capital of Juul.
During his testimony, James Monsees recalled some of Juul's previous efforts, including the closing of Facebook and Instagram pages and the removal of some flavored pods from several stores to prevent the purchase by teenagers.
The Juul leader said he understood the negative study of his company, but assured lawmakers that Juul's goal was "to eliminate cigarettes for good».
«It's an industry that has done badly for a very long timeSaid Monsees. "We are changing this from the ground up with products from people who are willing to innovate and a company committed to 100% to change the fabric of this market. »
Later in the hearing, legislators questioned Juul's executive director, Ashley Gould, about documents according to which Juul would have offered 10 000 dollars to some schools for anti-vaping educational programs. According to her, Juul only funded programs for 6 Schools, the latter stopped in 2018 after learning that tobacco companies were funding similar anti-smoking programs decades ago.
In a video broadcast by our colleagues from CNN, however, we hear two young people explain that people Juul society intervened during classes explaining that " the device was totally healthy". According to them, the teacher would ask the speakers to leave as soon as possible.
Last Wednesday, Robert Jackler, a professor at Stanford University and a tobacco advertising specialist, testified that Juul's early promotions had imitated the tactics invented by cigarette manufacturers. According to Professor Jacklet, James Monsees, a Stanford alumnus, had personally attributed Juul's promotion mode of operation to the professor's research on tobacco advertising at a meeting last year.
To defend himself, James Monsees told legislators that the comment was misinterpreted. He points out that Juul had learned of the "bad deeds" of these companies to "not do" the same type of advertising as that presented for tobacco by Professor Jackler.
Katie Hill, a member of the committee, stated that internal documents prove that the company had at one time attempted to aggressively use social networks to market its products, potentially passing through hundreds of influencers. According to Katie Hill, influencers are social media users who have many adepts online and an established credibility with their audience. She added that the company had told the subcommittee before the hearing that it used influencers sparingly.
James Monsees stated that he did not know the contracts she cited and told the committee member that the company had tried "a number of different things».