The federal government is seeking information from six e-cigarette manufacturers, including the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., regarding their products as the companies continue to bear backlash from two public health debacles: mysterious and deadly illnesses and an explosion in teen vaping.
On Thursday, the FTC sent orders to the manufacturers to provide the information about their e-cigarette sales, advertising, and promotional practices in the U.S. from 2015 to 2018.to better assist the commission, policymakers and the public to help them understand the rapidly growing, and largely unregulated, e-cigarette market.
JUUL Labs Inc., R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company, Fontem US Inc., Logic Technology Development LLC, Nu Mark LLC and NJOY LLC all received an order to provide annual data on the sales and giveaways of e-cigarette products; information about the characteristics of the companies’ e-cigarette products, such as product flavors; annual amounts the companies spent on advertising and promoting e-cigarette products; and information about e-cigarette product placement, the websites and social media accounts used to advertise or sell e-cigarettes, affiliate programs, influencer marketing, and college campus programs.
The FTC's request for information comes after federal and state officials have focused their attention on the recent outbreak of lung illnesses — including reported deaths — to push through restrictions designed to curb underage vaping.
U.S. health officials continue to beseech people to stop vaping until they figure out why some are coming down with serious breathing illnesses.
The illnesses have all surfaced this year, and the number has been growing quickly in the last month as more states have begun investigations, although no single vaping device, liquid or ingredient has been tied to all the illnesses, officials said.
To date, there have been just over 800 lung injury cases reported within 46 states and one U.S. territory along with at least a dozen confirmed deaths in 10 states, according to government data.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.