Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced Feb. 25 that Delaware has joined a bipartisan, multistate investigation of JUUL Labs.

The 39-state coalition is investigating JUUL’s marketing and sales practices, including targeting of youth. The investigation also concerns claims regarding nicotine content, statements regarding the risks and safety of e-cigarettes, and the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices.

“The data shows that Delaware has made strides educating kids and adults alike on the dangers of tobacco, but e-cigarettes threaten to take us backwards,” said Jennings. “The explosion of vaping should concern all of us, particularly when it comes to our kids — who are the first generation in decades to see more ads for nicotine products, not fewer, and who are often vaping with little to no understanding of the consequences.”

While traditional cigarette use has plummeted in recent decades — falling from 30% of Delaware adults in 1982 to 17% in 2019 — vaping has skyrocketed. Young adults are particularly vulnerable: 89% of current adult Delaware smokers started before the age of 21 and slightly more than 17%started between the ages of 18 and 20, according to 2017 Delaware Adult Tobacco Survey data.

Young adults who use e-cigarettes are four times likelier to smoke combustible cigarettes.

Nationally, e-cigarette use among high school students more than doubled from 11.7% in 2017 to 27.5% in 2019. In 2011, 1.5% of high school students reported using an e-cigarette within the past 30 days. Tobacco use costs Delaware more than $500 million each year in direct medical-related costs, according to the CDC.