Letter: JUUL backs Tobacco 21

(Steven Senne | AP file photo) In this April 11, 2018, photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass. Though education surveys show vaping use is down among Idaho high school students, health officials are concerned about vaping's rising popularity among teens nationwide. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, vaporized nicotine saw a dramatic uptick from 2017 to 2018 nationwide.

Our mission is to improve the lives of the world’s 1 billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes, because smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death.

In Utah, 1,300 adults die from smoking-related illnesses annually, which is why we believe it is critical adult smokers have access to a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.

The fact it has taken off with youth is appalling to us. Many of us at JUUL Labs are parents and know that strong action is required.

We implemented an aggressive action plan in November, overhauling our business with renewed focus on limiting youth access, appeal and use of JUUL products.

We strongly support raising the purchasing age for tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 in Utah. Backing Tobacco 21 legislation is vital, as we believe it will take the industry and lawmakers working together to solve this urgent problem.

Ashley Gould is the chief administrative officer for JUUL Labs, based in San Francisco, Calif.

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