Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced a $160 million campaign to end the use of e-cigarettes by teenagers on Tuesday.
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"E-cigarette companies and the tobacco companies that back them are preying on America's youth. They are using the same marketing tactics that once lured kids to cigarettes, and the result is an epidemic that is spiraling out of control and putting kids in danger of addiction and serious health problems," Bloomberg said in a statement.
The initiative, through Bloomberg's philanthropic organization, will seek to ban flavored e-cigarettes, which are believed to be a key attraction for teens, end e-cigarette marketing that appeals to youth and stop online e-cigarette sales until companies improve age-verification measures.
The program will be run in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which has been a vocal opponent of e-cigarettes for years.
"Tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable death in the United States," Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matt Myers said in a statement. "This game-changing investment will provide critical resources to help the public health community stand up against Juul and other e-cigarette companies that peddle e-cigarettes to our kids and ensure that we don’t lose another generation of kids to nicotine addiction."
Bloomberg's announcement comes after federal health officials issued a warning letter to Juul Labs Inc. on Monday. The officials slammed the e-cigarette maker for claims that its products were a safer alternative to smoking and ordered it to stop making unproven statements about its products.