With the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and FDA, along with other government agencies investigating a national “outbreak of lung injury” that are being linked to e-cigarettes through vaping, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has announced that she has launched a “major investigation” into 20 vaping companies that do business in the state.
According to Moody’s office, the decision to investigate the companies was made after an extensive statewide “fact-gathering mission” was executed and completed.
“As a mother, I cannot sit on the sidelines while underage vaping skyrockets and our next generation becomes addicted to nicotine,” said Moody “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. That is why today, I announced a comprehensive investigation into more than 20 vaping companies doing business in Florida.
“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, and will also seek information to determine if these companies can support their marketing and health claims. I commit to you, that we will get to the bottom of this issue so important to the future of Florida’s youth.”
The CDC has reported that 49 states, 1 U.S. territory and the District of Colombia have been affected, and of those 49 states, 21 have reported 26 deaths. Florida has one of the highest numbers of lung injury cases.
The Florida Department of Health released a report in April 2019 noting a 58 percent 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 persons didn’t even know vaping products contained nicotine. DOH I now reporting 68 cases of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses statewide.
The investigation will focus on assessing whether these companies are unfairly targeting minors in their marketing, failing to take adequate precautions to prevent the sale of such products to minors, deceptively and unfairly representing that their products can help smokers quit the habit without FDA approval to make such claims, misleading consumers regarding the safety and health impacts of e-cigarettes, or otherwise engaging in marketing and other business practices that violate Florida’s consumer protection laws.