Florida AG Moody Launches Investigation of Vaping Industry

FILE – In this April 23, 2014 file photo, e-cigarettes appear on display at Vape store in Chicago. Several medical and public health groups are suing the Food and Drug Administration over a decision by Trump administration officials to delay the review of e-cigarettes, which they say pose a health threat to U.S. children. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced on Wednesday that her office is launching an investigation into more than 20 companies that market and sell electronic cigarettes.

Moody says in a video, “It’s illegal under Florida law to sell these products to anyone under 18, yet vaping among our youth is out of control.”

Her office released the names of 22 companies, including JUUL Labs, that will be part of the investigation.

A report released last April by the Florida Department of Health stated that nearly 25 percent of high school students last year said they vaped.

Moody says the investigation will focus on whether companies are marketing their products to teens.

She adds, “Our investigation will focus on the marketing practices and online sales strategies of these companies to determine if they have intentionally targeted minors, tempting them to vape. We will seek information to determine if the companies can support their marketing and health claims”

San Francisco-based JUUL announced efforts earlier this year to keep young people from vaping. The company released a plan in August pledging to work with retailers on tightening practices for verifying customers’ ages, and on limiting the amount of products that adult customers may purchase.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the state had 68 reported vaping-related illnesses as of last Saturday, an increase of 16 cases from the previous week. In addition, one death linked to vaping has been reported in the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that vaping products which contain THC, “particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.” THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the euphoria-causing chemical found in marijuana.