New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a lawsuit against Juul, the e-cigarette company, because of its marketing practices, which she says were geared toward youth.
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“Juul basically took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook,” James said Tuesday during a news briefing in New York.
The lawsuit, which was filed in New York County Supreme court, alleges that Juul engaged in deceptive marketing practices and illegally sold e-cigarettes to minors on its website and through third-party retail stores. The suit further alleges Juul advertising campaigns failed to warn consumers that Juul e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and falsely marketed them as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.
In at least one instance, Juul engaged in direct outreach to high school students in New York City, the lawsuit alleges.
At present, Juul holds 70% of the e-cigarette market, according to James. There are currently 4.1 million high school students and 1.2 million middle school students who use e-cigarette products.
James said the death of a 17-year-old boy in the Bronx, linked to vaping cemented her decision to move forward with the lawsuit. It’s not clear whether the teenager used Juul products. Still, James said, “As a result of all of their advertising, a significant number of young people thought that e-cigarettes were safe.”
“Juul has to take responsibility for their actions,” she added.
There have been 2,172 lung injuries and 42 deaths linked to vaping, according to the latest count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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