Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser's office is investigating e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. to determine whether the vaping company engaged in deceptive marketing, according to a news report Wednesday.
“Colorado teenagers who engage in vaping are 10 times more likely to end up addicted to more serious substances," Weiser told CPR News. "This issue is a public health fire alarm. We’ve got to answer this alarm.”
On Tuesday, North Carolina's top prosecutor expanded his efforts to halt e-cigarette sales to teens by suing eight more manufacturers and sellers of vaping products.
Josh Stein, the Democratic attorney general in a traditionally tobacco-friendly state, said he's filing lawsuits against eight companies that make or sell e-cigarettes and related products in an announcement timed to grab attention during the first week of school.
He alleges that the companies market to young people with candy and dessert flavors on social media and don't use proper age verification for sales. He said he's asking courts to shut down their marketing and sales to underage people.
Last week the Colorado Department of Health and Environment sent out an alert to providers after doctors confirmed the first case of vaping-related lung illness in the state’s history.
Officials said the cases meet specific criteria laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which includes specific symptoms like shortness of breath or trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, coughing involving blood, fatigue and possible fever.
Colorado youth vape at twice the national average, according to Denver Public Health.
The Associated Press and 9News contributed to this report.