NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Attorney General William Tong announced Tuesday that Connecticut spearheading a nationwide investigation into the e-cigarette company, Juul Labs, INC.
“The damage has been done,” Tong said during a news conference. “They [Juul] dominate 80-90% of this marketplace and we have a youth vaping epidemic that is sweeping the country.”
It is a bipartisan, 39-state investigation into the company’s marketing and sales practices — including targeting youths.
“This is an expansion of an investigation that the commissioners and I announced in 2019,” Tong said.
The announcement comes after a study in January found Juul use increased in 2019, despite all warnings of how dangerous vaping can be. The Attorney General’s biggest concern is the vaping company’s marketing targeting kids.
During a round table discussion Tuesday, students at James Hillhouse High School talked about their experience with vaping.
“I feel like the students at our schools don’t know how dangerous it really is and they do really see it as a smarter alternative and something they can do without being arrested,” said student Kuniya Asobayire.
“A lot of my peers, they vape because and the Juul gives them a sense of relief,” added student Alexis Powell.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker told News 8 it’s a trend where corporations are looking to make money by taking advantage of the health and safety of children.
“The work that is being done by Attorney General Tong to hold folks accountable is something that is going to have a significant impact to right some of the wrongs that occurred in New Haven and many other communities around Connecticut,” said Elicker.
Meantime, the company claims they’re helping people quit smoking. That’s where the state’s Juul investigation picks up.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health reported 46 residents have been hospitalized with lung injuries associated with using e-cigarettes or vaping between August and December of 2019.
Across the country, more than 2,000 people were hospitalized and 52 people have died, including one here in Connecticut.
It’s important to note, many states have already sued the e-cigarette giant, claiming the ad campaigns target young people without informing about the risks of nicotine.