Electronic cigarette giant NJOY has hired lobbying firm Card & Associates to handle consumer safety and protection issues on Capitol Hill as they relate to the booming e-cigarette industry.
The vaping company has hired C&A to “educate officials on product safety and business practices of NJOY,” according to lobbying registration documents filed with Congress in December.
Founded in 2006, NJOY was one of the first companies to manufacture e-cigarettes. Once the world’s largest independent manufacturer of e-cigs by retail sales, the Scottsdale, AZ-based company filed for Chapter 11 in 2016 but bounced back last year after raising $35 million in investment capital. It has since launched a refreshed brand identity.
The vaping and electronic cigarette market has exploded in recent years, kicking off something of a contentious debate among industry advocates, health groups, regulators and e-cig makers themselves, which often tout their products as a safer and more socially acceptable alternative to combustible cigarettes. No long-term studies have yet been done to determine what health risks and effects e-cigarettes might have, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016 announced that it would classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, requiring the marketing, labeling and manufacturing of all new vaping devices and liquids to be approved by the agency prior to being sold.
With about 500 brands of e-cigarettes currently on the market, vaping may someday surpass cigarettes in the U.S. as the number-one nicotine delivery system of choice. Sales of e-cigarettes in the U.S. were estimated to top $3.6 billion this year, according to Internet statistics company Statista. Bloomberg Industries predicts e-cigarette sales may overtake traditional cigarette sales within the next two decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a new report claimed that traditional cigarette smoking among adults in the U.S. last year dropped to an estimated 14 percent, a 67 percent decline since the CDC began tracking those figures in 1965.
The vaping company’s retainer comes after rival e-cig maker JUUL Labs last month hired two lobbying outfits, Insight Public Affairs and Empire Consulting Group, to handle FDA regulatory matters. San Francisco-based JUUL last year surpassed its competitors to became the most popular e-cigarette in the U.S., and now claims an estimated 70 percent share of the e-cig market.
That product’s soaring popularity among teenagers has made the company a target by the FDA, which recently announced its plan to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores and gas stations around the country in a bid to curb its appeal among young people. In light of the public backlash and pending FDA announcement, JUUL in Nov. said that it would suspend selling flavored products.
C&A, which was founded in 2014, is headed by CEO A. Bradford Card, a Dutko Worldwide alum who previously served as chief of staff to former Congressman John E. Sweeney (R-NY).