Massachusetts' attorney general is launching an investigation into a popular e-cigarette maker.
Attorney General Maura Healey said at a Tuesday news conference she wants to find out whether California-based Juul Labs is tracking underage use of their products and whether its marketing practices are intentionally driving its popularity among young people. She says her office has sent subpoenas to Juul.
"Just when teen cigarette use has hit a record low, Juuling and vaping have become an epidemic in our schools with products that seem targeted to get young people hooked on nicotine," said Healey. "I am investigating JUUL and online sellers of their products to keep these highly addictive products out of the hands of children."
Healey says she has also sent cease-and-desist letters to two online vaping stores she says appear to be selling products to minors.
The attorney general was joined by Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a Massachusetts General Pediatric researcher.
"My patients report using Juul devices in the classroom while walking in the hallways because they need a hit to get through the day," Winickoff said.
Methuen School Superintendent Judith Scanell added that the use of the e-cigarettes are skyrocketing and could lead to abuses.
"This is a gateway for that next step into harder substance abuse for the kids," Scanell said.
The Food and Drug Administration in April asked Juul to turn over documents about the design, marketing and ingredients of its product.
Matt David, a spokesman for Juul, said it's also committed to preventing underage use of its product and welcomes the "opportunity to work with" Healey. He says Juul has never marketed to anyone underage.
The company has pledged to spend $30 million in an effort to keep its products out of the hands of underage users.