Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has ordered an online electronic cigarette vendor to halt sales in Massachusetts because it advertised on a website frequented by minors and did not have a sufficient way of verifying a buyer’s age.
This is the third time the office has issued such a demand to a vendor and is part of a larger crackdown on e-cigarette sales to minors.
The attorney general’s office alleges California-based Kilo E-Liquids advertised its products on myhomeworkapp.com, an educational website frequented by students and school employees. An investigation also found that the method Kilo uses to verify the age of its buyers does not meet requirements laid out in state law.
The cease and desist demand letter, sent out by the attorney general’s office Feb. 5, orders the retailer to stop sales until the company can prove it is complying with regulations. The letter also asks that Kilo stop advertising on websites that target young people.
“E-cigarette companies have taken a page out of the playbook of the tobacco companies to get young people addicted to their products,” Healey said in a statement. “If these retailers are operating in our state, they must comply with Massachusetts laws and keep their products away from children.”
Kilo E-Liquids did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Massachusetts banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors in 2015. The move against Kilo is the latest in a series of steps Healey’s office has taken to curb e-cigarette use among young people, a trend the FDA labeled an epidemic last year.
In July 2018, the office announced it had launched a probe into e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL Labs to determine if it was marketing and selling products to minors.
Around the same time, the office sent cease and desist letters to Direct Eliquid LLC and Eonsmoke LLC, companies that operate online stores at which customers can buy Juul products and related paraphernalia.
The Globe has previously reported on how widespread vaping is among Massachusetts students in public and private schools. In a press release, Healey’s office said they had heard similar concerns from educators.
Some municipalities have gone to great lengths to combat teenage vaping, even equipping school bathrooms with special sensors that can detect chemicals released by e-cigarettes.
Last December, Somerville banned the sale of e-cigarettes in stores open to youths, including most convenience stores. The ban goes into effect April 1.