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Michael Bloomberg launches $160M initiative to ban flavored e-cigarettes

Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's philanthropic arm announced plans on Tuesday to spend $160 million over 3 years in an attempt to ban flavored e-cigarettes in the U.S., saying tobacco companies "are preying on America's youth."

Why it matters: Though Bloomberg Philanthropies has backed efforts to curb tobacco use around the world before, this is reportedly the organization's first time financing an anti-tobacco initiative in the U.S., per the Washington Post. The pledge follows state and federal investigations into multiple deaths from an unknown lung illness linked to vaping.

The big picture: States including New York and Michigan have announced plans to ban the products.

  • Meanwhile, the Washington Post says the Federal Trade Commission is investigating Juul's marketing practices and how their messages specifically target kids and young adults. The FDA also sent the company a warning letter this week for misleading marketing on its vaping technology, especially in its youth outreach.

What's next: Bloomberg Philanthropies will work in coordination with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The funds will be used to push local, state and federal governments to implement bans on flavored e-cigarettes, impose stricter standards and encourage the FDA to strengthen its approval process for vaping products.

Go deeper: Juul's growing kids crisis