On Tuesday, state attorneys general from Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and Oregon announced that they’ll be leading a 39-state coalition probe into the marketing practices of controversial e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs, as reported by Law360.
In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong described the Juul attorneys general probe as an expansion of a 2019 Connecticut probe initiated in 2019 into whether Juul had illicitly marketed its e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids despite not being approved by federal regulators for that purpose.
The Juul attorneys general probe is likewise an expansion of a prior Florida probe into Juul’s marketing practices which according to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has spurred “an epidemic of underage vaping” not just in Florida but nationally.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said she was proud of Oregon’s leading role and pledged to work with the coalition to hold Juul accountable for their actions.
Juul has “almost [single-handedly] gotten a whole new generation of teens hooked on tobacco,” and created a “public health crisis,” Rosenblum said.
In response to the announcement of the Juul attorneys general probe, Juul’s Senior Communications Director Austin Finan told Law360 that the company doesn’t seek to attract underage customers and continues to “combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”
The Juul attorneys general probe aligns with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration effort to prioritize enforcement against makers of illegally marketed flavored e-cigarettes, especially products that are popular with minors.
The Juul state attorneys general probe comes on the heels of lawsuits filed by attorneys general from four states:
- Feb. 12: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy sued Juul for aggressively marketing to youth.
- Feb. 10: Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sued Juul for marketing its e-cigarettes to youth and for misrepresenting the amount of nicotine its devices deliver.
- Nov. 19: New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Juul for targeting teens with its advertising and for misleading consumers about the nicotine content of its products.
- Nov. 18: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued Juul for systematically targeting teens with its advertising and for failing to verify customers’ ages.