Attorney General Nessel Announces Bipartisan, Multistate Investigation of Juul

Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney 517-335-7666
Agency: Attorney General

February 25, 2020

LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced Michigan has joined a bipartisan, multistate investigation of Juul Labs. The 39-state coalition is investigating Juul’s marketing and sales practices, including targeting of youth, claims regarding nicotine content, and statements regarding risks, safety and effectiveness as a smoking cessation device.

“The health and safety of our youth should not be jeopardized by false advertising and deceptive marketing tactics,” Nessel said. “Companies that mislead customers about their products are not good corporate actors and they must be held accountable when they engage in this behavior.” 

While traditional cigarette use has plummeted among youth, vaping is skyrocketing. A recent survey of Michigan high schoolers showed a growing trend in the number of students who admitted to using an electronic vaping product in the past 30 days. Hillsdale County was the only one out of the 49 counties surveyed that showed a decrease from the 2015-16 academic year to the 2017-18 year. However, data from 2015-16 was not available for six counties.

In that survey, Clinton and Oceana counties showed the largest increase of 118 percent – going from 11.2 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, of students who admitted to using vaping products in the past month in 2015-16 to 24.4 percent and 19 percent, respectively, in 2017-18. The highest percentage of use for 2017-18 was reported in Grand Traverse County at 38.5 percent, with the lowest in Newaygo County at 12.7 percent.

“Michigan has seen an explosive and unprecedented increase in youth vaping, and there is no question that marketing and availability of flavors directly contributed to this epidemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “We have to hold these companies accountable and do everything we can to keep vaping products out of the hands of youth.”

According to the FDA’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, e-cigarettes were the most commonly ever used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students overall (35 percent, 9.4 million). More than 5 million youth are currently using e-cigarettes, up from 3.6 million in 2018, either daily or frequently “meaning 20 or more days per month.” E-cigarettes were the most commonly used flavored tobacco product (68.8 percent of current e-cigarette users, 3.7 million).

To learn more about vaping in Michigan, visit the MDHHS website here.

###