WASHINGTON (AP/KDKA) – The nation’s largest electronic-cigarette company, Juul Labs, donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of state attorneys general.

The donations were part of an effort to build relationships with these powerful officials and potentially head off legal challenges over how Juul promoted and sold its vaping products. But the company’s approach may be backfiring.

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Thirty-nine states announced late last month that they’ll investigate whether Juul’s early viral marketing efforts illegally targeted teens and made misleading claims about the nicotine levels in its devices.

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sued Juul over its marketing. The suit says nearly a quarter of Pennsylvania students report using e-cigarettes.

Juul says it is working to earn “the trust of society,” by working with various government officials.

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