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Federal prosecutors in California are conducting a criminal probe into e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing men and women familiar with the matter.

FILE PHOTO: A store selling Juul vaping products is seen in Los Angeles

FILE PHOTO: A shop promoting Juul vaping items is observed in Los Angeles, California, September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

REUTERS: Federal prosecutors in California are conducting a criminal probe into e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing men and women familiar with the matter.

The concentrate of the probe by the U.S. attorney’s workplace of the Northern District of California, which is in early stages, was unclear, the report mentioned.

The enterprise, in which tobacco giant Altria group owns a 35per cent stake, is facing a regulatory crackdown and elevated government scrutiny in the domestic industry as teenage use of e-cigarettes surges.

Six deaths have been linked to vaping and U.S. public well being officials are investigating 450 situations of prospective vaping associated lung illness across 33 states and 1 U.S. territory.

North Carolina Lawyer Basic Josh Stein mentioned in a lawsuit in May possibly that the enterprise marketed its items to minors and downplayed dangers. Other state attorneys basic along with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are investigating Juul’s marketing and advertising practices.

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration earlier this month warned Juul more than marketing and advertising its items as safer than standard cigarettes and requested documents and facts inside 30 days from the letter.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has announced plans to take away all flavored e-cigarettes from shop shelves in a widening crackdown on vaping.

A spokesman for the attorney’s workplace and Juul declined to comment.

Shares of Altria had been trading marginally reduce at US$40.67 right after the closing bell.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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