TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Florida's attorney general announced Wednesday that she will investigate more than 20 vaping companies that sell the products in the state, saying there's a growing epidemic of teens using the e-cigarettes.
In a news conference at a Tampa high school, Moody said the investigation will center on whether the companies are targeting minors and if they're running afoul of the state's consumer protection laws.
"Our investigation will focus on the marketing practices and online sales strategies of these companies to determine if they have intentionally targeted minors, tempting them to vape," she said. "We will also seek information to determine if these companies can support their marketing and health claims."
She added that there have been 52 cases of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses in Florida.
Moody said parents should talk with their children about the dangers of vaping. She said she launched a summer-long "fact gathering mission" on the topic, speaking with parents, teachers, school resource officers, and state and local leaders.
Nearly 1 in 4 Florida high school students admits to using e-cigarettes. It's illegal to sell the products to anyone under 18 in the state.
The number of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. continues to rise, reaching about 1,300 cases and at least 26 deaths as of Oct. 10.
The nationwide outbreak appears to have started in March. Symptoms include severe shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. Most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the marijuana ingredient that causes a high, but about 1 in 8 said they vaped only nicotine.
Until a cause is determined, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises Americans to refrain from using any vaping products.