North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is suing e-cigarette maker JUUL for allegedly violating the state’s law prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices.
AG Stein’s lawsuit comes after his office’s investigation into JUUL’s business and marketing practices particularly towards young people.
Allegations against JUUL
In the lawsuit, AG Stein alleged that JUUL deliberately targeted young people with its e-cigarettes with candy and desert-like flavors and sleek new look.
The company also allegedly changed the chemical composition of its e-cigarettes to make the vapor less harsh on the throats of young and inexperienced smokers.
Additionally, AG Stein alleged that JUUL’s chose media platforms and marketing channels expert on attracting minors. The company used models who look like teenagers and sought youth-oriented sponsors and influencers on social media.
Furthermore, the Attorney General accused the e-cigarette maker of using ineffective age verification techniques for online sales, allowing consumers to avoid or circumvent age requirements.
Moreover, AG Stein alleged that JUUL deceived consumers about the dangers and strength of nicotine in its e-cigarettes.
“JUUL entered the e-cigarette market with among the highest nicotine potency of any product, a nicotine level so high that, in some countries, it is illegal for consumers of any age. JUUL has deceived consumers about that nicotine strength, has misrepresented the nicotine equivalency of its products to traditional cigarettes, and has understated the risks of addiction that occur with such powerful levels of nicotine,” as written by the Attorney General in the lawsuit.
AG Stein says JUUL is “reckless”
In a statement AG Stein commented, “JUUL targeted young people as customers. As a result, vaping has become an epidemic among minors. JUUL’s business practices are not only reckless, they’re illegal. And I intend to put a stop to them. We cannot allow another generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine.”
JUUL accounts for about 75 percent of the e-cigarette market. In 2017, almost 17 percent of high schools in North Carolina reported using an e-cigarette.
Attorney General Stein is asking the court order to order JUUL to stop selling e-cigarettes in the state and to stop its advertising and marketing practices that target minors. He is also seeking civil penalties, disgorgement of the company’s profits from its unfair and deceptive practices to the state, and other fees and costs.