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Tip Sheets

Juul youth marketing investigation requires diligent approach

Officials announced Tuesday that investigators from 39 states will look into the marketing and sales of vaping products by Juul Labs. The investigation includes whether the company targeted youths and misled consumers about nicotine content in its devices.


Alan Mathios

Professor of Policy Analysis and Management

Alan Mathios, professor of policy analysis and management, studies the effectiveness of proposed cigarette package warning labels on smoking onset and quit behavior.

Mathios is part of a team of Cornell researchers who are studying the most effective health warnings to include in advertisements for electronic cigarettes and addressing a paradox presented by the required warnings: discouraging adolescents from developing nicotine addictions through e-cigarettes, but not scaring off adult smokers for whom e-cigarettes might represent a healthier alternative to combustible cigarettes.

Mathios says:

“There are well-established legal standards for determining whether an advertisement is false or misleading. With respect to the investigations of whether advertisements or promotions created a misleading message about the nicotine content of the products, I would suggest that the state attorneys general or others leading the investigation consult with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for a harmonized approach to evaluating the potential deceptive nature of these claims.  

“It is also important to note that under the truth-in-advertising statutes of the FTC, omitting relevant information can itself cause an advertisement to be deemed misleading or deceptive. The FTC has a long history in this regulatory space and could add significant value to how best to approach these investigations.”

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Gillian Smith
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