“As a mother, I cannot sit on the sidelines while underage vaping skyrockets and our next generation becomes addicted to nicotine. It’s illegal under Florida law to sell these products to anyone under 18, yet vaping among our youth is out of control," Attorney General Ashley Moody said. "It’s my job, as Attorney General, to protect Floridians and that’s what I’m determined to do."
Moody said that the investigation will look into the marketing and selling practices of e-cigarette products by more than 20 companies selling in Florida. It will focus on assessing whether these companies:
- Unfairly target minors in their marketing, fail to take adequate precautions to prevent the sale of such products to minors.
- Deceptively and unfairly represent that their products can help smokers quit the habit without FDA approval to make such claims.
- Mislead consumers regarding the safety and health impacts of e-cigarettes.
- Engage in marketing and other business practices that violate Florida's consumer protection laws.
“Our investigation will focus on the marketing practices and online sales strategies of these companies to determine if they have intentionally targeted minors, tempting them to vape, and will also seek information to determine if these companies can support their marketing and health claims. I commit to you, that we will get to the bottom of this issue," she said.
There has been a reported 68 cases of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses statewide.
The Florida Department of Health found that there was a 58 percent increase in the use of e-cigarettes among Florida high school students between 2017 and 2018. Nearly one in four Florida high school students admit to vaping. Another study found that two-thirds of young persons did not even know that vaping products contained nicotine.
Attorney General Ashley Moody recently went on a fact-gathering mission on the dramatic increase in vaping among Florida youth. She spoke with dozens of parents, teachers, school resource officers, and state and local leaders across multiple school districts.
This story was written in Orlando, Florida.