Rona Ambrose, a former Canadian health minister, has joined the board of directors of the e-cigarette company Juul.
Juul CEO K.C. Crosthwaite announced the appointment of the board in an email to staff on Friday.
Crosthwaite writes that during Ambrose’s tenure as health minister, he helped introduce regulations to combat the marketing of flavorful tobacco products that appeal to young people, and his government imposed a tax on cigarettes.
He said Ambrose’s position on the board would help the company “work to win the trust of our shareholders.”
Ambrose served as interim leader of the Conservative Party and official Opposition from 2015 to 2017, and was a member of the Edmonton regional parliament from 2004 to 2017 when he retired from politics.
“Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death in the world, and supporting the potential for reducing the adverse effects of adult smokers is an important goal for individuals and the health system,” Ambrose said in his email statement.
“However, this new technology will not succeed in eradicating cigarettes unless businesses and regulators work together to successfully fight the problem of underage use. We must resolve both of them.”
E-cigarette company based in the U.S. holds the largest market share in the country. That generated $ 2 billion in revenue in 2018, the same year it entered the Canadian market.
The Health Canada website states that vaping is no more dangerous than smoking and that there are short-term public health improvements for those who switch from smoking to vaping.
But it also states there are serious concerns about increasing youth vaping and increasing dependence on nicotine due to high concentrations in vaping products, two things that Juul has faced sharp criticism.
Nicotine is highly addictive, and Juul’s fruit produces more nicotine than cigarettes which are absorbed more easily into the bloodstream, according to a recent study by Tobacco Management.
The company is targeting lawsuits
The company has also been subject to several lawsuits – including wrongful death lawsuits – alleging that Juul consciously targeted teenage non-smokers as customers, something that was rejected by the US company and its Canadian partners.
“At present, without scientific evidence showing safety or effectiveness, we continue to urge Canadians to oppose the use of e-cigarettes,” Ambrose said in 2014, when as minister of health he first submitted regulations on products and requested research on risks and benefits. .
“We have heard that e-cigarettes might be a gateway for teens to start smoking, while also having the potential to function as a smoking cessation tool.”
The company said earlier this year that it would stop selling taste pods in Canadian stores, following the steps it made in the US in 2018.
Juul has two retail stores in the province of Ambrose, Alberta. Customers are subject to age verification before they can enter the Juul store.
Vaping also received additional attention during the coronavirus pandemic. In March, the Canadian Pediatric Society warned that yawning and smoking weaken the lungs, affect cardiovascular health, and place people at greater risk of infection or severe corona virus complications.
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