Florida attorney general investigating vaping businesses targeting minors

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Vaping products and devices. Credit: via WINK News.

A Lee County high school principal is helping Florida’s leading legal officer dive into vaping among those under 18 years old in our state.

As the nation deals with a vaping crisis, Florida Attorney General Ashely Moody is launching a major investigation. Moody wants to know if e-cigarette and vaping businesses target or mislead kids.

“Have a conversation with your children,” said Dr. Robert Butz, the principal of Fort Myers High School. “Know what’s in their car. Know what they’re carrying around with them. Know what they have in their rooms as well.”

Principal Butz made that warning to parents of students in January 2019. Ten Months later, we know Butz was onto something.

“In Florida, we’ve seen 60 illnesses related to vaping and at least one death,” Moody said in a statement.

Wednesday, Moody said she has been alarmed by the spike in vaping issues with teenagers.

“This is a much-needed, crucial step in ending this epidemic,” Moody said.

The Florida Office of the Attorney General will investigate marketing practices by vaping businesses and online sales.

“We needed to get out in front of this,” Moody said.

If Moody finds companies targeted kids with their sales tactics on purpose in Florida, there will be a price to pay. And Moody echoed what Butz conveyed to parents.

“I urge all parents to talk to their children,” Moody said.

It’s currently illegal to sell vape and e-cigarette products to anyone under 18 years old. But the Florida Department of Health reports nearly one in four high school students admits to vaping.

The attorney’s general investigation will also see if companies selling vaping products unfairly said they could help smokers quit without approval the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Butz warned it could lead to greater problems in the future if nothing is done.

“It progresses to the THC and then it progresses to my child walking out of here in handcuffs,” Butz said. “And that’s a serious thing.”

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