Juul Labs faces an extensive investigation into whether the electronic cigarette maker marketed its products to children and misled customers with claims about their nicotine content and safety.
Investigators from 39 states are teaming up with attorneys general from Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas, spearheading the inquiry into the marketing strategy of the company, according to the Associated Press.
“I will not prejudge where this investigation will lead,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement. “We will follow every fact and are prepared to take strong action in conjunction with states across the nation to protect public health.”
Juul is already facing lawsuits by teenagers who claim they have become addicted to the San Francisco-based company’s vaping products.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called underage vaping a “public health epidemic.” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said, “Preying on children and those looking for help to quit smoking is the one of the most despicable examples of risking people’s lives for corporate profit.”[Read more: House panel approves vaping tax, would levy $1.15 a Juul pod]
Juul said it had already taken steps to curb its advertising and cut back its product line in response to increased pressure from public officials. The company has television, print, and digital advertising and cut down on its fruit- and dessert- flavored vape pods.
“We will continue to reset the vapor category in the U.S. and seek to earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes,” Juul said in a statement.
The Food and Drug Administration officially raised the legal age to buy tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and vaping cartridges from 18 to 21 in December.