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NJ Attorney General Demands E-Cig Marketing, Sales Information

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced last Thursday that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is seeking information from 15 e-cigarette businesses about their marketing and sales of vaping products in New Jersey. The investigative demands come in the wake of reports from across the U.S. indicating a dramatic rise in the use of vaping products by underage users.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that more than 200 adults and teenagers across the country have contracted severe respiratory illnesses following e-cigarette use.

The Attorney General made the announcement at a press conference with Governor Murphy, who stated that he has signed an Executive Order establishing a task force to address the threat to public health posed by e-cigarettes (see page 13).

“As a father, I am very concerned about the way e-cigarettes have been marketed to kids in New Jersey,” said Attorney General Grewal. “If products that come with risks of addiction and other serious health problems are sold at all, they should never be marketed in ways that appeal to children. We share Governor Murphy’s commitment to responding forcefully to protect the health of New Jersey kids.”

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. Some of the chemicals used in vaping are toxic. The sale of vaping products to persons under 21 is prohibited in New Jersey.

In its communications with e-cigarette companies, the Division of Consumer Affairs has requested information about numerous aspects of the companies’ sales and marketing practices in New Jersey. Among other things, the companies are being called upon to provide information about the volume of their New Jersey sales, the types of flavored e-cigarettes they sell, and how they market their products here.

Companies that are receiving or have received requests for information include those associated with: JUUL, Eonsmoke, Blu, Halo Cigs, VUSE, Lava2/Buzz E-Cigs, Logic, Mig Vapor, White Cloud, Vapor4Life, NJOY, Vapage, Tinted Brew, Geekvape, and Juice Man.

Under state law, the Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), widely considered one of the strongest consumer protection statutes in the country. The CFA permits the Attorney General to seek monetary penalties and other relief for violations of the law, which can include false advertising and deceptive business practices. In recent years, the Attorney General’s Office has employed the CFA to address other public health risks, including enforcement actions involving opioid manufacturers and cigarette retailers.

In addition to calling on the 15 e-cigarette companies to provide information, Attorney General Grewal also announced that his office is issuing Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) for Special Counsel to handle possible e-cigarette litigation.