NO SMOKE SCREEN

U.S. wants va­p­ing com­pa­nies’ sales, ad­ver­tis­ing data

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - BRYAN Pi­etsch Reuters

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion has or­dered a half­dozen e-cig­a­rette com­pa­nies to turn over sales and ad­ver­tis­ing data, the fed­eral reg­u­la­tor said Thurs­day, in the first sign of a likely probe into their mar­ket­ing prac­tices.

The or­der was sent to Juul Labs, RJ Reynolds Va­por Com­pany, Fon­tem US, Logic Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment, Nu Mark and Njoy, the FTC said in a state­ment.

The FTC is seek­ing an­nual sales data and in­for­ma­tion on give­aways, data on prod­uct place­ment and flavours, and in­for­ma­tion on the com­pa­nies’ use of celebritie­s and mar­ket­ing on col­lege cam­puses to sell the elec­tronic smok­ing de­vices. The first or­der was sent about a month ago, an FTC of­fi­cial said.

Al­tria Group, which owns Nu Mark and has a 35% stake in Juul, will com­ply with the FTC re­quest for in­for­ma­tion on Nu Mark, a com­pany spokesman said.

A Juul spokesman said the com­pany will fully co-op­er­ate with the FTC.

A Fon­tem Ven­tures spokesman said the com­pany has been work­ing with the FTC and will meet the re­quest’s dead­line. Reynolds Amer­i­can said it is re­view­ing the re­quest, while Ja­pan Tobacco said it is look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing its di­a­logue with the FTC.

The FTC or­der comes a week af­ter a U.S. House panel asked Fon­tem Ven­tures, Reynolds Amer­i­can, Njoy and Ja­pan Tobacco, which owns Logic, to stop all ad­ver­tis­ing of their prod­ucts in the United States.

Juul had said the same day that it would pull its ads.

The re­quests come amid a mys­te­ri­ous out­break of se­ri­ous va­p­ing-re­lated lung ill­nesses whose cause has yet to be de­ter­mined.

The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion said Thurs­day there have been 1,080 con­firmed and prob­a­ble cases of lung ill­ness in 46 states, as well as 18 deaths across 15 states associated with va­p­ing in the United States.

BRIAN SNY­DER/REUTERS

A demon­stra­tor vapes dur­ing a protest against the Mas­sachusetts four-month ban of all va­p­ing prod­uct sales yes­ter­day in Bos­ton.

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