New York state is joining California and North Carolina in suing e-cigarette company, Juul, on the grounds of marketing campaigns that effectively targeted youth and helped fuel teenage lung illness and vaping-related deaths.
Letitia James, New York General Attorney, announced the state’s lawsuit on Tuesday. Health officials of the state have said that about 1 million New Yorkers use e-cigarettes regularly and 220,000 of these people are under the age of 18. General Attorney’s office also cited the case of a 17-year-old Bronx boy who passed away due to a vaping-related illness in October.
BREAKING: I filed a lawsuit against @JUULvapor.
JUUL has allegedly engaged in deceptive marketing practices targeting minors and misled consumers about both the nicotine content and safety of its products.
They’ve put countless New Yorkers at risk & we won’t stand for it. pic.twitter.com/szuU0M5e0n
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) November 19, 2019
Letitia James gave a statement saying,
“There can be no doubt that Juul’s aggressive advertising has significantly contributed to the public health crisis that has left youth in New York and across the country addicted to its products. By glamorizing vaping, while at the same time downplaying the nicotine found in vaping products, Juul is putting countless New Yorkers at risk.”
The lawsuit from New York comes a day after California filed its complaint which is about six months after North California filed its suit against Juul. School districts in Missouri, Kansas, Washington and on Long Island have also filed lawsuits. Among other things, California’s lawsuit alleges that Juul didn’t carry out effective age verification. Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General said in court documents filed on Monday, “JLI’s campaign has been wildly successful, with millions of teens and young adults using their product. While JLI’s profits soared, users became addicted and their health was harmed. Some users took up cigarette smoking or became dual users of both cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.”
We’re suing JUUL for enabling a public health crisis. While claiming to help adults ween off cigarettes, JUUL’s viral marketing and sales targeted CA teens and lured them into nicotine addiction. https://t.co/A6ZSm5iiEx pic.twitter.com/7zneU24KtX — Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) November 18, 2019
Juul Labs Inc. (JLI) has repeatedly denied that it marketing its products to teenagers and minors. The San Fransisco based company currently faces multiple state and federal investigations into whether their early marketing efforts boosted the current vaping trend among minors. The company points out that it has suspended its advertising and removed most of its flavors from the public.
Becerra said in court documents, “The short and long-term consequences of JLI’s actions for young people, for public health, and for public resources, both at the state and local level, are devastating.”
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 42 people have died from lung illness linked to vaping.
James wrote in court documents, “Just like Big Tobacco, Juul developed bright, colorful ads and fruity, sweet-tasting flavors, such as mango, which attracted young consumers. To make them even more attractive to young consumers, Juul gave the flavors fun names such as Cool Cucumber, Crème Brulée, Fruit Medley and Cool Mint.”