SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco’s Juul is being accused of attempting to recruit researchers to endorse the use of e-cigarettes using the company’s funding.

“No one underage should use JUUL products or nicotine in any form. Data in the U.S. show rates of underage use of our products that are unacceptable. We are working to reverse this trend by focusing on restricting access to our products and limiting appeal of our products,” states Juul Labs’ Underage Use Prevention.

Michael Parks from the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics  conducted a study on underage smoking prior to receiving an e-mail from Juul’s director of medical affairs for “potential research opportunities.”

According to Juul Labs’ Marketing Code, “JUUL products are designed for adult consumers as an alternative to combustible cigarettes. The target audience for our marketing is current adult smokers. We tailor our promotional communications and materials to adult smokers through narrow marketing channels to limit potential for unintended exposure among those who are underaged and those who are not currently smoking or vaping.”

Several dozen states sued Juul in recent years for marketing their e-cigarettes to underage teenagers. San Francisco became the first city in the United States to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in 2019.