Wisconsin joins national probe of JUUL’s marketing of vaping products

39 states investigate whether JUUL targeted youths
Vaping cloud
The national investigation is focusing on JUUL. one of the largest purveyor of vaping devices, on allegations it has marketed to youths and questions about its effective tool to help people stop smoking.

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) –Wisconsin has joined a bipartisan, 39-state investigation of JUUL Labs’ marketing and sales practices of its e-cigarette and vaping products, including alleged targeting of youths, nicotine content claims and the company’s statements about risks, safety and effectiveness of JUUL devices to help people quit smoking.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul lamented a dramatic increase in e-cigarette in the Badger State and nationally as he announced the probe, whose leaders include attorneys general from Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

“JUUL has been the driving force behind this increase, and we are working with a bipartisan group of AGs to investigate JUUL’s sales and marketing practices,” Kaul said of the San Francisco-based company.

Vaping also is blamed for a national outbreak of severe lung illnesses. Federal health officials have coined the term EVALI, which stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, for the outbreak of more than 2,800 cases nationwide, including 68 deaths.

Vaping has skyrocketed, even as traditional cigarette use has plummeted among youths, largely through local efforts such as the 7 C’s Health Initiative of the La Crosse County Health Department.

The 7 C’s Initiative, which also has expressed alarm about vaping, cites the potential peril of unknown variables in e-cigs, including nicotine; formaldehyde, which also is used to preserve bodies; diacetyl, which has been proved to cause severe lung damage; diethylene glycol, a component of antifreeze; carcinogins, and metals.

The annual National Youth Tobacco Survey found that the share of Wisconsin high-schoolers smoking cigarettes dropped from 10.7 to 4.7 percent between 2014 and 2018. During that same time, the share of high-schoolers who vape e-cigarettes increased from 7.9 to 20.1 percent — one out of every five students).

In La Crosse County, health officials said 1 in 7 of the teens — 14 percent — in the county acknowledged vaping within the past month.

Nationally, nearly 21 percent of high-school students vaped last year, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey conducted by the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control.