Florida Attorney General launches investigation into more than 20 vaping companies

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By: Pat Mueller | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 16, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a major investigation into vaping companies doing business in Florida.

The investigation will look into the marketing and selling practices of e-cigarette products by more than 20 companies selling in Florida, the Attorney General's office said.

“As a mother, I cannot sit on the sidelines while underage vaping skyrockets and our next generation becomes addicted to nicotine," Moody said. "It’s illegal under Florida law to sell these products to anyone under 18, yet vaping among our youth is out of control. It’s my job, as Attorney General, to protect Floridians and that’s what I’m determined to do."

Moody also said the investigation will try to determine if these companies have intentionally targeted minors to tempt them to vape and if they can support their marketing and health claims.

The Florida Department of Health released a report in April 2019 noting a 58% increase in the use of e-cigarettes among Florida high school students from 2017 to 2018. According to the report, nearly one in four Florida high school students now admits to vaping. One study found two-thirds of young people didn’t even know vaping products contained nicotine.

DOH has now reported 68 cases of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses statewide.

The Attorney General said the investigation will judge whether these companies are:

  • Unfairly targeting minors in their marketing
  • Failing to prevent sale of vaping products to minors
  • Unfairly representing that their products can help smokers quit, without FDA approval to make such claims
  • Misleading consumers regarding the safety and health impacts of e-cigarettes
  • Engaging in other marketing or business practices that violate Florida's consumer protection laws.

    You can find the list of the companies under investigation here.

    This announcement comes after Moody wrapped up a statewide fact-gathering mission into the dramatic increases in teen vaping. Over the summer, Moody spoke to parents, teachers, school resource officers and state and local leaders across many school districts to learn more about teen vaping.

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