Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement official has filed a lawsuit against e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s 139-page lawsuit claims that the company violated Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection law and has put the health of residents at risk. Lawsuit alleges that youth were put at risk by JUUL’s products and marketing.
“JUUL knowingly targeted young people with tactics similar to the tobacco companies’ playbook,” Shapiro said at a Monday press conference. “There is no proof these e-cigarettes are safe and until there is, we need to get JUUL products off shelves and out of the hands of young people.”
The lawsuit alleges that JUUL targeted youth with “kid-friendly” flavors. It also states the company used certain flavors to chemically enhance the amounts of nicotine and its absorption rate in the product while rushing products to market without proof of the safety.
The attorney general’s office said the company is liable for not disclosing the health risks of JUUL products.
“JUUL manipulated data to deceive consumers about the nicotine content of its products. First JUUL estimated their products delivered substantially more nicotine than its competitors in a patent, and then doubled back to say the products were comparable to an average cigarette,” Shapiro said.
“They disregarded their growing audience of young users, taking no action, as their profit margins skyrocketed on the backs of American kids.”
The lawsuit calls for JUUL to cease sales of their products in Pennsylvania. It also asks the court to take JUUL devices out of production, or impose restrictions on the way the JUUL product is designed, marketed, and sold.
The attorney general’s office is asking for the company to pay for youth-oriented prevention programs, public health research, and nicotine cessation programs.
A JUUL spokesperson told NewtownPANow.com recently that the company is “focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with local officials, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and convert adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”