The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General is joining a national coalition to investigate marketing and sales practices of the e-cigarette and vaping company giant, Juul.

“The vaping epidemic in our schools has set back many of the health gains Hawaii achieved in the wake of the tobacco war,” said Attorney General Clare Connors in a statement. “The statistics for our state are staggering, and my department is working with other states and our local counterparts to investigate the role of Juul Labs in purposefully targeting our youth and creating a devastating health threat to our community.”

Attorney General Clare Connors.
Attorney General Clare Connors announced Tuesday Hawaii would join a coalition of nearly 40 states to investigate business practices of e-cigarette company Juul. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

A total of 39 states make up the coalition, which will look into how the San Francisco-based company may have targeted youth via marketing language. It will also investigate Juul’s branding practices for vaping products that made claims about nicotine content, safety, risks, and their products’ efficacy as smoking cessation devices.

Over the past decade, vaping devices have exploded in popularity among Hawaii youth, particularly on the neighbor islands. The Aloha State has the highest reported vaping rate among middle schoolers and the second highest vaping rate among high schoolers in the nation, according to the most recent 2017 data available from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Tuesday morning announcement came hours before the Hawaii State Senate and House were scheduled to hear two companion bills that would ban flavored vaping products in the islands.

Juul is also facing lawsuits by people who claim the company’s vaping products are deliberately addictive.

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