James Monsees, co-founder of San Francisco-based Juul, testifies before the House Committee Oversight and Reform Economic and Consumer Policy subcommittee on July 25, 2019.

Juul Executive Tells Congress Company 'Never Wanted' Underage Users

Jeffrey Schaub
July 25, 2019 - 3:44 pm

A top Juul executive told members of Congress on Thursday that the tobacco vaping product was never intended to be used by teens.

Juul co-founder James Monsees found himself on the receiving end of intense questioning from members of both parties while testifying before the House Oversight Committee's Economic and Consumer Policy subcommittee in Washington, D.C.

It was the first time that an executive from San Francisco-based Juul Labs appeared before Congress. 

“We never wanted any non-nicotine user, and certainly nobody underage, to ever use Juul products,” Monsees told the subcommittee, reiterating that the company removed all but one flavored Juul product from store shelves.   

The company also shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts, he said. 

But that didn’t satisfy Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who pointed to Juul’s relationship with its home city. 

“Last month, San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes,” Cummings said. “Juul is trying to overturn it with a ballot measure.”

“I very much understand the skepticism,” Monsees replied.  

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, a Democrat from Walnut Creek, responded harshly. 

“I want to tell you, I’ve been involved with public health for a long time in the Bay Area and you, sir, are an example to me of the worst of the Bay Area,” DeSaulnier said. “You don’t ask for permission. You ask for forgiveness. You’re nothing but a marketer of a poison and your target has been young people.”