April 8 (UPI) -- Democrats in Congress said Monday they will investigate the marketing tactics of e-cigarette maker Juul.
Eleven lawmakers led by Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent the letter asking the company about how it markets products. Some experts blame e-cigarettes for an increase in vaping by those under the legal smoking age.
The seven-page letter said the lawmakers also intend to examine the 35 percent stake in Juul by Altria, the maker of Marlboro-brand cigarettes. The letter suggested Altria could be violating regulations of commitments it made to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"[The] marriage between two companies that have been most prolific at marketing highly addictive products to children is alarming from a public health standpoint and demonstrates, yet again, that Jul is more interested in padding its profit margin than protecting our nation's children," the letter said.
The lawmakers said "16 conservative-leaning and anti-regulation organizations" urged President Donald Trump in February to "intervene with the Federal Drug Administration's public health oversight and 'pump the brakes on its new regulatory efforts' regarding tobacco products, including e-cigarettes."
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey launched an investigation into Juul's marketing practices in 2018, and last week referred to vaping in schools as an "epidemic." Her comments came hours after her predecessor. Martha Coakley, announced that she'd been hired by Juul Labs. In recent weeks, the FDA said it would hold retailers accountable for selling e-cigarette products to persons not old enough to legally buy them.