FILE - Raja Krishnamoorthi

House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee chair Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, speaks as he questions JUUL Labs co-founder and Chief Product Officer James Monsees during a subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 25, 2019.

An Illinois congressman has a federal proposal to remove most nicotine from e-cigarettes. 

Illinois Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi announced Monday that he’s going to sponsor what he called the "Ending Nicotine Dependence from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Act” (or END ENDS Act) that limits the amount of nicotine in electronic cigarette liquid to around one-third of what’s in the typical Juul pod. 

Per Juul’s website, the company's 5 percent product contains 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter, about three times what the proposed limit would be. The company, which the congressman criticized, is just one of a number of manufacturers. Juul didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

The Illinois Democrat from suburban Chicago told a City Club of Chicago crowd that e-cigarette use at a young age can lead to illicit drug use.

“E-cigarettes are almost a gateway substance to other substances that are even more addictive and more powerful,” he said.

When asked about illicit products containing THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, potentially being the cause of people being hospitalized with lung problems, Krishnamoorthi cited some who said they never used illicit products.

“The CDC reported that even users of solely nicotine e-cigarettes without any THC were among the victims,” he said.

E-cigarettes have become a widely-utilized alternative for smokers looking to quit, even though the Food and Drug Administration ruled in September that Juul’s advertising as a form of smoking cessation tool was illegal. Later that month, President Donald Trump proposed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

As of Oct. 1, 1,080 lung injury cases associated with using e-cigarettes or vaping products had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.