On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a new lawsuit against e-cigarette company Juul, alleging that the company misled consumers about the risks of vaping through deceptive advertising.
In its lawsuit, New York alleges that Juul’s marketing of its products downplayed their health risks and used “colorful images of attractive, young models” to appeal to minors.
“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,” James said. “By glamorizing vaping, while at the same time downplaying the nicotine found in vaping products, JUUL is putting countless New Yorkers at risk. I am prepared to use every legal tool in our arsenal to protect the health and safety of our youth.”
Juul has been bombarded with lawsuits and investigations over the past year after a sharp rise in youth vaping. Earlier this year, North Carolina’s attorney general sued the company for its advertising strategy, and on November 18th, California AG Xavier Becerra filed a similar lawsuit. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating Juul’s marketing practices as well. There is legislation pending in both the New York Assembly and New York City Council to ban the sale of e-cigarettes outright.
Juul’s legal woes were exacerbated by the Trump administration earlier this year when it announced that it would be working with the Food and Drug Administration to take all flavored pods off the market until the agency investigated and approved them for sale. Shortly after this announcement, Juul put out a blog post announcing that it would be taking all flavored vape pods off the market. Later, the company discontinued its mint-flavored pods, too.
The New York attorney general’s office is seeking a permanent injunction against Juul and an order forcing the company to pay into an abatement fund to rid of the “public nuisance it caused,” James said.