Ultimate Chutzpah: Reynolds American… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Ultimate Chutzpah: Reynolds American Pretends to Care About Youth E-Cigarette Use While Selling No. 2 Brand Among Kids

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
February 10, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – It is shameless hypocrisy for tobacco giant Reynolds American to pretend that it cares about kids and ask the FDA to crack down on disposable e-cigarettes when Reynolds itself sells the second most popular e-cigarette brand among kids, Vuse. Is Reynolds trying to eliminate its competition for the youth market?

Flavored disposable e-cigarettes are a major contributor to youth e-cigarette use, and the FDA should move swiftly and decisively to clear the market of these products, but that is not enough. To truly end the youth e-cigarette epidemic, the FDA must eliminate all flavored e-cigarettes, including Reynolds’ flavored Vuse products.

No one should be fooled by Reynolds’ claims that it cares about kids. According to the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), 23.6% of youth e-cigarette users reported using Reynolds’ Vuse, making it the second most popular brand after Puff Bar, one of the competitors Reynolds is seeking to oust. Reynolds is currently seeking to overturn FDA’s decision denying marketing authorization for two menthol-flavored Vuse products – a decision the FDA made precisely because of the risk these products pose to youth.

Reynolds has marketed Vuse in youth-oriented ways, including a rooftop concert series and TV ads featuring “rainbow-hued Vuse Alto vaporizers undulating to rap music.” While Reynolds seeks to eliminate its disposable competitors in the United States, its parent company, British American Tobacco, sells disposable products in 24 countries, according to STAT. Let’s not forget that Reynolds once used the notorious Joe Camel cartoon character to market cigarettes, helping fuel a huge surge in youth smoking during the 1990s.

To protect our nation’s kids, the FDA must complete its review of e-cigarette marketing applications without further delay and clear the market of all flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol-flavored products used by 28.2% of high school e-cigarette users. There is no question that flavored products have driven the youth e-cigarette epidemic, with 85% of youth users reporting that they have used flavored products, according to the 2022 NYTS. The evidence is also clear that as long as any flavored products are left on the market, kids will shift to them and we will not end this youth addiction crisis.

Reynolds American is the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing. Their latest claims deserve zero credibility.