Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Virginia One of 39 States Investigating Vaping Giant Juul

Juul for sale in a Chesterfield vape shop.
Juul for sale in a Chesterfield vape shop. (Roberto Roldan/VPM News)

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has signed on to a multi-state investigation into the marketing and sales practices of e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, Inc. 

The coalition of 39 states is looking into whether Juul targeted youth in its marketing campaigns as well as the company’s claims about the nicotine content of its products and the effectiveness of those products as smoking cessation devices. In a press release, Herring called the number of young people in Virginia who are using e-cigarettes a public health crisis.

“While we have made great strides in reducing the number of young people who use more traditional tobacco-based products, we are now, unfortunately, seeing the number of Virginia teens vaping and using e-cigarettes climb at an alarming rate,” Herring said.

A spokesperson for Juul said in a statement the company does not intend to attract underage users. It announced this fall it would stop selling most flavored products that attract young customers. The company is also reportedly working on a new device that has an age-proof lock.

“We will continue to reset the vapor category in the U.S. and seek to earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes,” the statement said.

Juul’s marketing practices are also under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, teen cigarette use in Virginia was at an all-time low in 2017, at 6.5%. But at least 11.8 percent of teens said that they vaped or used e-cigarettes.

Virginia-based tobacco company Altria purchased a third of Juul in 2019.


Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.