The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday ordered six vaping companies to turn over documents detailing their business practices, marketing materials and financial performance.
The move comes amid growing scrutiny of the health consequences of e-cigarettes, including a criminal investigation by the Food and Drug Administration into a recent spike of vaping-related illnesses.
The FTC targeted the largest vaping company in the country, Juul Labs, as well as R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., Fontem US, Logic Technology Development, NJOY and Marlboro maker Altria Group’s Nu Mark.
The commission said it is seeking a raft of data, such as sales figures, flavor details, ad spending, product placement arrangements and social media efforts.
“The FTC study will complement similar FTC studies on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products,” the commission said in a statement.
The order covers material from 2015 through 2018.
“The goal is to assist the Commission, policy makers, and the public to better understand the rapidly growing e-cigarette market,” the FTC said.
Juul spokesman Ted Kwong said in an email: “We will fully cooperate and are focused on earning the trust of regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders.”
R.J. Reynolds spokesperson Kaelan Hollon said in an email: “We have received and are reviewing the FTC’s request. “
Altria spokesman George Parman said in an email that the company, which discontinued the Nu Mark brand in December, “will comply with the FTC order.”
Japan Tobacco International, which owns Logic, said in a statement: “We have received and are reviewing the order from the FTC. Regulators have rightly focused their attention on JUUL’s marketing activity, which in no way is reflective of our own strict marketing principles. Logic has always communicated responsibly about its products, such as having health warnings on advertising and age-verification on our website. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with FTC.”
Representatives from NJOY and Fontem did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
Nathan Bomey/USA Today