BOSTON (Reuters) – Massachusetts is investigating e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc and two on-line retailers to find out whether or not they violated state legislation by failing to forestall minors from shopping for their merchandise, the state’s legal professional common stated on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Juul e-cigarette starter package is seen on this image illustration taken July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Martinne Geller/Illustration

The probe by Massachusetts Lawyer Common Maura Healey comes because the fast-growing Silicon Valley e-cigarette start-up has confronted elevated scrutiny due the recognition of Juul’s merchandise with youngsters.

The investigation will search to find out how efficient Juul is at stopping minors from shopping for its merchandise and what, if something, it does to forestall on-line retailers that don’t confirm a purchaser’s age from buying its merchandise, Healey stated.

FILE PHOTO: Massachusetts Lawyer Common Maura Healey solutions a query throughout an interview with Reuters at her workplace in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Picture

“The underside line, that is about protecting younger individuals secure and wholesome,” she stated at a information convention.

Healey’s workplace stated it was sending cease-and-desist letters to Direct Eliquid LLC and Eonsmoke LLC, demanding the net corporations cease promoting Juul and different e-cigarette merchandise to Massachusetts residents with out ample age verification methods.

San Francisco-based Juul, which launched in 2015, stated in an announcement that it was dedicated to stopping underage use of its merchandise. The corporate stated it makes use of “stringent on-line instruments” to dam gross sales to individuals beneath the age of 21.

“Moreover, we have now by no means marketed to anybody underage,” Juul stated.

FILE PHOTO: Juul e-cigarette is seen on this image illustration taken July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Martinne Geller/Illustration/File Picture

E-cigarettes are handheld digital units that vaporize a fluid that usually comprises the addictive substance nicotine. The units have been grabbing market share from conventional tobacco corporations and can be found in a wide range of flavors. The Juul product has a glossy design that resembles a USB flash drive.

Cigarette smoking harms almost each organ of the physique and causes greater than 480,000 deaths annually in the US, in accordance with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Whereas many individuals use e-cigarettes to assist reduce down on smoking, well being care and anti-tobacco advocates have change into more and more involved by the extent to which the Juul product has change into standard amongst teenagers in the US.

In line with a 2016 report by the U.S. surgeon common, e-cigarette use elevated 900 p.c amongst highschool college students from 2011 to 2015.

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration on April 24 introduced a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes and tobacco merchandise to minors, significantly these developed by Juul.

The FDA issued 40 warning letters to retailers, together with a number of 7-Eleven shops, for violations over gross sales of Juul merchandise to minors. It additionally required Juul to show over paperwork regarding its advertising practices.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Modifying by Jeffrey Benkoe and Invoice Berkrot

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