SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco-based e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs is facing increasing scrutiny following the release of information about how much it's spending to support Proposition C on the San Francisco ballot. The company is also under investigation by a state prosecutor.
San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar says "the reason that we're focusing on JUUL is one, they're the biggest in the industry. Two, is for their knowingly false representation of what their product is."
The District Attorney says she launched the investigation into JUUL after the company knowingly sought to hook young people on vaping with a deceptive advertising strategy.
"Here in San Joaquin County, our job is public safety... if you think you can come into this county and you think you can harm our youth and we're not going to fight you back, you're wrong," said Salazar.
For it's part, JUUL released a statement saying in part
At the same time, JUUL's campaign finance report was just made public. It reveals the company spent nearly $12 million supporting San Francisco's Proposition C.
Supporters say it's reasonable vaping regulation which would overturn the city's current vape ban.
Opponents say the campaign contributions, combined with a new CEO at JUUL who has deep ties to the tobacco industry, are clear signs that big tobacco money is being spent in San Francisco.
"JUUL is big tobacco and JUUL is trying to buy itself a Proposition. A 'yes' on C vote is allowing big tobacco to rewrite the San Francisco health code," said Matt Dorsey of the No on C campaign.
JUUL didn't directly address the question of campaign donations to Prop C. But, on the broader issue of legislation, JUUL said, "We strongly advocate for Tobacco 21 legislation, we stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol based flavored JUULpods to our traditional retail store partners, enhanced our online age-verification process."