WASHINGTON (KAIT/GRAY NEWS) - North Carolina hopes to guide the nation in snuffing out teen e-cigarette use.
Clouds of uncertainty hang over e-cigarettes, as nicotine hooks yet another generation on a product that’s already proven deadly. And yet, for long-time cigarette smokers, it may be a healthier alternative and an aid to kick tobacco-use altogether.
"This problem is a national problem, there’s a youth epidemic occurring," Attorney General Josh Stein (D-North Carolina) said Wednesday.
Stein recently became the first A.G. to sue Juul Labs and seven other e-cigarette makers, accusing the companies of aggressively targeting children. Wednesday, he laid out his case against digital tobacco giants to a crowd of fellow top prosecutors from around the country.
"What we’ve got to do is stop all the efforts that [the companies] engaged in to create youth smokers and still allow adults to have that option," he said.
Stein’s peers who listened in this morning -- both Democrats and Republicans – didn’t commit to taking specific steps, but said their states won’t remain on the sidelines.
"I see Vermont taking action one way or another," said Attorney General T.J. Donovan (D-Vermont).
"I think that we’ll wind up with a settlement, a negotiated settlement, like we did with tobacco 30 years ago," said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R-North Dakota).
Stein will be coming home with new ideas of his own, strategies he picked up at attorneys general conference for dealing with issues surrounding everything from artificial intelligence to religious rights.
We have reached out to Juul for comment on Stein’s lawsuits. So far, we have not heard back. This story will be updated if and when we do get a response.