The e-cigarette maker Juul, which bills itself as a way for people to quit smoking, is the subject of a federal investigation, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. attorney’s office of the Northern District of California is conducting the investigation, which is in its early stages, reports the WSJ, citing an unnamed source. The report didn’t specify the focus of the investigation. Juul is headquartered in San Francisco.
The U.S. Attorney’s office wouldn’t confirm the report and Juul would not comment on it. Nor did Juul respond to Fast Company‘s request for comment.
Juul has come under increased scrutiny from state and federal agencies as vaping has taken off among teenagers and as reports of vaping-related deaths have made headlines. Juul points out that its product contains no THC or vitamin E compounds, ingredients that were found in the products used by many of the vapers who were hospitalized.
The Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and several state attorneys general are already investigating Juul for its marketing practices, which many believe target younger users. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held hearings in July on Juul’s role in the youth nicotine epidemic.
In response to the vaping-related deaths, the Trump administration said it has plans to ban more flavored cigarettes.
The maker of Marlboro cigarettes, Altria Group, took a 35% stake in Juul with a $12.8 billion investment last year, at which time Juul was valued at $38 billion.