Investigators are probing whether Juul illegally marketed itself as a “smoking cessation device” without approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, according to Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and the state’s consumer protection commissioner, Michelle H. Seagull.
In particular, the state is investigating Juul’s promotional pricing offers and “seeks information as to how and why JUUL selects its targeted marketing groups,” according to a press release.
“JUUL has never been approved as an effective smoking cessation device — in fact, there is mounting evidence to the contrary. Our investigation will seek to determine whether JUUL is making health claims without FDA approval in violation of the law,” said Tong.
Connecticut is demanding that Juul answer questions and turn over documents by September 3.
Company spokesman Ted Kwong said in a statement that Juul will cooperate with the investigation. “To be clear — the JUUL system is a switching product designed to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes to an alternative nicotine delivery and that is how we position it in our marketing and communications,” he said.
Kwong added that Juul’s devices “are not intended to be used as cessation products, including for the cure or treatment of nicotine addiction, relapse prevention, or relief of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.”
The product was “a safer alternative than smoking cigarettes and it would be better for [a nicotine-addicted] kid to use that,” the Juul representative allegedly said, according to 16-year-old Phillip Fuhrman’s testimony. “He didn’t use it but he did take it out and show it to us.”
She recounted a visit by Juul representatives earlier this year in which they offered the tribal council a “switching program” and free starter kits as part of an implied harm reduction effort and public health study. The tribe was “unfairly exploited,” O’Leary said.
CNN’s Clare Sebastian and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.