Vaping giant Juul faces another probe of its marketing

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong launched an investigation into e-cigarette company Juul in light of a recent Yale study. Their investigation will focus on smoking cessation claims and marketing practices.

This comes on the heels of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announcing a lawsuit against the national retailer of electronic cigarette and vaping products, alleging the company violated state law by targeting minors for sales of its merchandise.

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 10, 2018, file photo, a high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students in such places as restrooms or hallways at the school in Massachusetts. The Food and Drug Administration is planni

The study, published Tuesday, revealed previously unknown dangers in connection to the liquids used in Juul's e-cigarettes. Vanillin is banned from use in cigarettes, but it's used in e-cigarettes and has been connected to airway irritation when combined with vapor.

“We were surprised that levels in Juul vapor were already close to safety limits for workplaces where vanillin is used, such as in bakeries and the flavor chemical industry,” co-author Sven-Eric Jordt from Duke University said in the release.

Vanillin can be found in some Juul flavored pods, including “Crème Brulée,” “Cool Cucumber" and “Fruit Medley."

The Yale study found half of the flavors tested, including “Fruit Medley,” contained menthol, which is commonly used to decrease the bitterness of nicotine and often leads to increased nicotine use.

The researchers' hypothetical exposure analysis failed to take into account real-world conditions.

- Juul spokesperson to FOX Business

Juul provided the following statement to FOX Business: "The researchers' hypothetical exposure analysis failed to take into account real-world conditions, including realistic human exposure to vapor products like JUUL. Based on actual vanillin content in JUULpods, in order to reach the identified occupational environmental threshold of 10 mg/m3 vanillin exposure in the real world, a person would have to consume at least seven JUULpods, and likely much more, in a single day. To reach the 100 mg/m3 threshold the researchers attribute to JUUL would require a person consume upwards of 70 JUULpods in one day."

E-cigarettes were considered a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but health officials insist the nicotine in e-cigarettes is just as harmful as regular cigarettes.

Last week, JUUL co-founder James Monsees testified on Capitol Hill, refuting allegations the vaping company's advertising is targeting America's youth.

12 December 2018, Hamburg: James Monsees (l) and Adam Bowen, founder of the e-cigarette manufacturer "Juul", look into the photographer's camera at the Hotel Tortue. "Juul" is the market leader for e-cigarettes in the USA and begins its market launch

Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns said he would apologize to parents whose children are addicted to the company’s products as concern grows around the teen vaping epidemic.

“First of all, I’d tell them that I’m sorry that their child’s using the product,” Burns told CNBC for the documentary, “Vaporized: America’s E-cigarette Addiction.”

It’s not intended for [children.]

- Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns

“It’s not intended for them. I hope there was nothing that we did that made it appealing to them,” Burns added. “As a parent of a 16-year-old, I’m sorry for them, and I have empathy for them, in terms of what the challenges they’re going through.”

Burns joined Juul in 2017, about two years after the company launched its products. Juul’s products, which make up about 40 percent of the e-cigarette industry, was created to help adults quit smoking. The devices still give people their nicotine fix while eliminating the cigarette smell.

The company, however, has received a slew of criticism in recent months due to Juul’s popularity among teens. In June, San Francisco took a step to curb teen vaping addiction by banning the sales of e-cigarettes. Critics said Juul contributed to the vaping epidemic by promoting its products through advertising campaigns showing young models.

Adam Bowen, Juul co-founder, admitted the ads were “inappropriate.”

“When we launched Juul, we had a campaign that was arguably too kind of lifestyle-oriented, too flashy,” Bowen told CNBC. “It lasted less than six months. It was in the early days of the product introduction. We think it had no impact on sales.”


Burns said there isn't enough data to show the impact of chronic vaping.

“Frankly, we don’t know [the impact of chronic vaping] today,” Burns said. “We have not done the long-term, longitudinal, clinical testing that we need to do.”

FOX Business' Katherine Lam and The Associated Press contributed to this report.