After lawsuits launched Monday in California, the Attorney General of New York State in turn sued the number one electronic cigarette in the United States, Juul Labs, on Tuesday. The company is accused of deceptive marketing.
The lawsuit filed in a New York state court accuses Juul of deceptive marketing and advertising and of illegally selling its products to minors, amid a surge in vaping in U.S. colleges and high schools.
“There is no doubt that the aggressive advertising of Juul contributed to the health crisis which has made the youth of New York and the rest of the country addicted to its products,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James in a press release.
The 38-page complaint cites, in particular, parties and advertising campaigns organized by Juul to appeal to young people, or the choice of perfumes specially intended for a young audience. She also accuses the manufacturer of having assured high school students that its products were better for your health than cigarettes.
Indemnities and funds
The age limit for buying electronic cigarettes and refills in New York State was raised in mid-November from 18 to 21.
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The lawsuit does not cite an aggregate amount of damages claimed, but asks that Juul fund a fund to fight this health crisis, and pay damages in the thousands of dollars for each case of deceptive practice.
California and the city of Los Angeles had already announced Monday that they had taken legal action against Juul Labs, accused of having deliberately targeted minors in its marketing practices to entice them to vape, which is illegal.
Juul has stopped selling most of its flavored refills (mango, cream, fruit, cucumber and mint) since October, anticipating a ban promised in September by Donald Trump’s government. Ultimately, it appears that Mr. Trump has waived this ban, according to US media outlets, for fear it will cost him votes for his re-election.
Already under investigation
The brand now sells only three flavors in the United States: two tobacco and one menthol, which is different from mint.
A recent study has shown that young people overwhelmingly consume mint, fruit and mango flavors.
Some of the company’s marketing practices also earned it the opening of an investigation by the federal consumer protection agency this summer.