LANSING, Mich. — Investigators from 39 states will look into the marketing and sales of vaping products by Juul Labs, including whether the company targeted youths and made misleading claims about nicotine content in its devices, officials announced Tuesday.
Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Michigan has joined the investigation.
“The health and safety of our youth should not be jeopardized by false advertising and deceptive marketing tactics,” Nessel said. “Companies that mislead customers about their products are not good corporate actors and they must be held accountable when they engage in this behavior.”
Attorneys general from Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and Texas said they will be leading the multi-state investigation into San Francisco-based Juul, which also is facing numerous lawsuits by teenagers and others who say they became addicted to the company’s vaping products.
Juul released a statement saying it has halted television, print and digital advertising and eliminated most flavors in response to concerns by government officials and others.
A recent survey of Michigan high schoolers showed a growing trend in the number of students who admitted to using an electronic vaping product in the past 30 days, according to the Attorney General.
The survey showed that Clinton and Oceana counties had the largest increase of 118 percent – going from 11.2 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, of students who admitted to using vaping products in the past month in 2015-16 to 24.4 percent and 19 percent, respectively, in 2017-18. The highest percentage of use for 2017-18 was reported in Grand Traverse County at 38.5 percent, with the lowest in Newaygo County at 12.7 percent. And, Hillsdale County was the only one out of the 49 counties surveyed that showed a decrease from the 2015-16 academic year to the 2017-18 year, according to the release.
“Michigan has seen an explosive and unprecedented increase in youth vaping, and there is no question that marketing and availability of flavors directly contributed to this epidemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “We have to hold these companies accountable and do everything we can to keep vaping products out of the hands of youth.”
According to the FDA’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarettes were the most commonly ever used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students overall.
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